Korean Bae Sang-moon takes lead at Riviera

Last updated 11:23 16/02/2013

Relevant offers


New Zealand golfer Danny Lee locked in tight battle for final President's Cup place Jason Day rockets into world No 1 contention after blowout at The Barclays Kiwi golfer Danny Lee retains lofty PGA Tour playoff position with even-par round American golfer Brian Harman hits two holes-in-one in final round at The Barclays New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox stumbles late to tie for 27th at Czech Masters American John Daly taken to hospital after collapsing on golf course in Mississippi Danny Lee slips down leaderboard at The Barclays after one-over par round Kiwi golfer Danny Lee stays handy at FedEx Cup series opener in New Jersey 'Birdie machine' Danny Lee poised for Presidents Cup call-up Kiwi golfer Danny Lee makes strong start in FedEx Cup series opener in New Jersey

South Korean Bae Sang-moon upstaged some of the game's biggest names by charging into an early one-shot lead in the second round of the Northern Trust Open.

Taking advantage of ideal scoring conditions on another glorious morning of sunshine at Riviera Country Club, the 26-year-old birdied his first four holes on the way to a six-under-par 65 and a nine-under total of 133.

That left him one ahead of little-known American John Merrick, who carded a 66, but several former major winners and heavyweight players were in hot pursuit.

British world number three Luke Donald was just two shots off the pace after returning a 66, with 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa (67) and US Open champion Webb Simpson (66) a further stroke back.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia (73), Australian Adam Scott (67) and British Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa (68) were among four players knotted at four-under 138.

"I played very well today," Bae told reporters after mixing nine birdies with three bogeys on a challenging Riviera layout where there is very little margin for error with approach shots into the small greens.

"I hit a bunch of good shots and I made many good putts, but I missed a couple of short putts on holes number five and seven. But that was not a big problem. I did my best today."


Bae was a runner-up at last year's Transitions Championship in his rookie season on the PGA Tour and he knows how difficult it is to win on the US circuit.

"There are many good players on the PGA Tour so it's very competitive," he smiled. "It's a good experience for me and I will just play my game. My goal is win, but you know, that's not easy."

Winning this week will certainly not be easy for Bae with 12 of the world's top 20 players heading a strong field at Riviera.

Among them is former world number one Donald who has recorded three top-six finishes at the venue in the past five years.

"I'm happy with my score, obviously coming off a pretty good break," said the Englishman who is playing his first tournament since he tied for third at the European Tour's DP World Tour Championship in November.

"You never know how you're going to deal with being back in competition again but certainly a big improvement today, ball-striking wise. My short game has been very sharp.

"I've been excited about that. It's been a big key to my score so far and I'm excited to be in the mix again."

Donald, a five-times champion on the PGA Tour, totalled only 25 putts on Friday and sank monster putts from just off the fringe at the third, from 22 feet, and at the fourth, from 72 feet.

Ad Feedback

Overnight leader Matt Kuchar, who opened with a 64 to take a one-stroke lead, was among the day's late starters.

The cut was projected to fall at one-over 143 with triple major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Masters champion Bubba Watson among those likely to miss out. 

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

If she is able to, when do you expect Lydia Ko to win her first major?

Next year, she's so close

She's still working towards it, within three years

It may be longer than we think, within five years

The expectation might be too much, maybe never

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content