Playing together in the same group, South Korean amateur Dongmin Kim and America’s Alex Kang put on a sensational display of scoring in hot conditions at Laguna Golf Phuket, firing 15 shots below par between them. Kim carded a 6-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Kang, who was eyeing a score in the 50s before signing for a 61 after the second round of PGA TOUR Series-China’s final Global Qualifying Tournament.
Canada’s Stuart Macdonald was also in great form, shooting a 65 to share second with Kang, who still holds the PGA TOUR Series-China’s all-time 72-hole scoring record and is the older brother of LPGA major champion Danielle Kang.
Kim and Kang started on hole 11 and were the group to watch from the opening hole. The duo racked up 13 birdies, two eagles and just two bogeys. They will play together for a third consecutive day when the final group tees off Thursday at 12:35 p.m.
With the help of his dad on the bag, Kim opened birdie-bogey on his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 14th (his fourth hole of the day) accelerated his round. He picked up three more birdies, on holes 18, 6 and 7.
“The golf course felt a bit narrow, but I hit my driver really well and that was the key for me to make a lot of birdies,” said Kim. “It gets very hot here, and it’s easy to lose focus so I think having my dad helped a lot today. He’s great to have on the bag, and hopefully we can stay fit and keep playing well together.”
Kang finished third on the Tour’s Order of Merit in 2016 to earn status for the Web.com Tour, where he played from 2017-2018. He is hoping to lock up status this week and return to China for another opportunity to progress to the Web.com Tour, where he enjoyed 43 starts in 2017 and 2018.
Two weeks ago, Kang tied for 35th at the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open and found his rhythm again today in a round that included eight birdies, one eagle, and just one bogey to bounce back from an opening-round 71.
“I had my putter going, and I hit my irons well. It sounds weird, but I could have gone lower. I had a three-putt, and I didn’t take advantage of the shorter par-5s. But it was a good round, 61 is always good,” said Kang, who was full of praise for Kim.
“He was making putts. I saw him make some putts. I think he saw me make some putts so it’s always good when someone is lighting it up in the group because you feel like you can do it too.”
Japan’s Narutoshi Yamaoka carded a 67 to take solo fourth at 6-under, one ahead of Americans Eric Beringer (69) and Jared Howard (70), who was co-leading with Australia’s Aaron Wilkin (73) after the first round. Two more Americans, Nick Latimer (67) and Henry Westmoreland IV (67), are tied for seventh, at 4-under.
Only the medalist this week will earn full status for the 14-event Tour season, while finishers 2-12 will earn status through the first six events. Finishers 13-35 (and ties) will be conditionally exempt through the first six events.