Korea’s Sungjae Im stayed firmly in contention at the BMW Championship following a 7-under 65 on a day American muscleman Bryson DeChambeau blitzed the Caves Valley Golf Club with a stunning 12-under 60 for the solo second round lead on Friday.
Im made eight birdies against a lone bogey to end the weather-disrupted day on 12-under 132 in tied fourth place, four shots back of DeChambeau who missed a 6-foot, 3-inch birdie putt on the final hole for a magical 59 as he posted his career-low score.
Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan made an eagle and four birdies but his charge was slowed down considerably with three bogeys, including on the last hole as he signed for a 69 to lie in tied 15th place on 8-under.
Chasing his second PGA TOUR victory in what is the penultimate FedExCup Playoffs event, Im started strongly with three close range birdies on Hole Nos. 1, 2 and 4 which set the tone for his day. “I made eight birdies. On this course, it is very important to start with momentum early in the round. This is the key for the good round. I made three birdies in my first five holes, and got this momentum and kept it until the back nine where I made another four birdies,” said Im, who entered the week in 25th place on the FedExCup standings and projected to rise to 14th.
Im’s ball striking was immaculate once again as he hit 11 fairways and 14 greens in regulation. With the exception of a 40-foot birdie conversion on the eighth, his other birdies were from inside of nine feet. “The slopes on the course is little bit severe, so it was a bit physically challenging. And the hot weather also bothered me. I need to keep my focus and control my condition,” said Im.
Korea’s K.H. Lee carded his second 69 for a share of 23rd place following a round of four birdies and one bogey. Currently 37th on the FedExCup standings, he needs a projected ninth place finish or better to have a chance of progressing into next week’s Season Finale, the TOUR Championship in Atlanta which is exclusive to the top-30 players who will battle for the FedExCup.
Another Korean, Si Woo Kim, was even par through 14 holes but following a 74 on Thursday, he lies in tied 67thplace and in danger of concluding his season this week. He requires a projected 15th place to advance to East Lake Golf Club next week.
DeChambeau, an eight-time PGA TOUR winner, equalled the season’s lowest score and was attempting to post the 13th sub-60 score in PGA TOUR history. He also equalled his low 36-hole score on TOUR (128/2019 3M Open).
“A lot of putts went in. A lot of things went right. We got a lot of great numbers out of the rough today, and I played my butt off and never thought too much about anything until the last few holes, and I striped a 9-iron on 17, striped a drive, striped a wedge on 18 and just wasn't able to clutch those putts up. But I stroked it pretty well today, and going to go work on that a little bit and make sure I'm hitting it down my lines for this weekend so I have myself a chance to win this weekend,” he said.
“I thought I hit it on the line (on 18). Just misread it. We played it two and a half, three inches out, and it clearly didn't break that much, but I had good speed on it and I'll go look afterwards and see if I pulled it or not and work on ways to mitigate that.”