PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA – MARCH 01: Kevin Yu of Chinese Taipei waves at the ninth hole during the second round of Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches at PGA National Resort the Champion Course on March 1, 2024 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Chinese Taipei’s Kevin Yu bolted into contention at the Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches on Friday with a second-round 4-under 67 to lie two behind leader Bud Cauley while compatriot C.T. Pan continued his resurgence with a 68.

The 25-year-old Yu fired five birdies and one bogey at PGA National Resort (The Champion) in Florida where his 9-under 133 total left him in tied for fourth place heading into the weekend. Cauley shot a 65 to lead on 11-under as he continues his comeback from a lengthy injury spell.

Pan, buoyed by a strong tied third finish at the Mexico Open in Vidanta last week, traded five birdies against two bogeys for 8-under in the US$9 million event, a position projected to get him into next week’s Signature event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.

Playing his second season on the PGA TOUR, Yu, who finished T3 at The American Express and T6 at the Farmers Insurance Open, attributed his good form to extra hours spent on the driving range and practice greens during the off-season.

“Just kind of ball-striking I think it’s more steady than last year. Especially putting I’ve been working on quite a bit right now. Last year I hit it pretty good but missed tons of putts. Just been working on it ever since last year,” said Yu.

“I feel like it pays off a little bit now. I definitely feel more comfortable, and putting has been better. It came out with pretty good results.”

Yu is chasing a maiden TOUR win and is confident his top-10 finishes in January will serve him well for a weekend challenge. He aims to join the ranks of Asian winners in the tournament, following the footsteps of Korean duo Y.E. Yang (2009) and Sungjae Im (2020).

“I think being more comfortable out there and really stick to my game,” said Yu of his good form of late. “In the past I feel like I’ve been thinking too much in the outcomes and thinking about my swing and everything. Just really focus on my golf game and not thinking too much in outcomes. It worked out pretty good, and it feels good,” said Yu.

Pan was delighted to maintain his form by shooting his fifth successive sub-70 score. “I came out really solid form from last weekend, even though physically I’ve been sick since Friday in Mexico. But I feel my game is fine and it’s in good shape, especially my driving,” said Pan, who won the 2019 RBC Heritage for his lone PGA TOUR title to date.

“Driving out here is very important. That really puts me in really good spots for a lot of birdie chances out there. Really happy with my first two rounds.”

Korea’s K.H. Lee and Tom Kim will head into the final two rounds at 7-under and 6-under respectively, after rounds of 66 and 68. Meanwhile, S.H. Kim relinquished his share of the first-round lead, tumbling down the leaderboard to a tied 36th position after posting a disappointing 74, alongside Byeong Hun An (71).

Cauley’s brilliant 65 was good enough for him to seize a one-shot lead over Austin Eckroat and South Africa’s Garrick Higo. He was sidelined for three years due to various injuries from a car accident in 2018, and returned to the game just recently.

“There were a lot of times where I thought that my career was over,” he said. “To be back here playing and playing well, it’s nice. It just makes me that much more happy that I kept after it and didn’t stop trying.”

2024 Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

(9th of 36 FedExCup Regular Season events)

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida                    February 29 – March 3, 2024                FedExCup points: 500 (winner)

PGA National Resort (The Champion)     Par/Yards: 35-36 – 71/7,147                 Purse: $9,000,000/$1,620,000


Partial Second-Round Notes – Friday, March 1, 2024


Weather: Partly cloudy with scattered afternoon showers. High of 79. Wind from the SE at 15-25 mph.


Suspension: Play was suspended at 6:22 p.m. ET due to darkness with 10 players left to complete their second round. The second round will resume Saturday at 7 a.m. The 36-hole cut will be made shortly after the round ends and players will be re-paired based on score; third-round tee times will begin at approximately 8:15 a.m. in threesomes off No. 1.


Partial Second-Round Leaderboard

Pos.        Player                                    R1           R2           Total

1              Bud Cauley                            66            65            131 (-11)

T2            Austin Eckroat      65            67            132 (-10)

T2            Garrick Higgo                        67            65            132 (-10)

T4            Kevin Yu                 66            67            133 (-9)

T4            Victor Perez                          67            66            133 (-9)

Leading Aussie/NZ Scores

T24         Ryan Fox                                69            68            137 (-5)

T24         Min Woo Lee                        67            70            137 (-5)

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