Filepic Byeong Hun An. Credit Getty Images

Korea’s Byeong Hun An fired a superb 5-under 65 to power into a share of 10th place after the second round of The Honda Classic to sit five shots back of leader Justin Suh on Friday.

The 31-year-old An staged a back-nine charge with an eagle and three birdies at PGA National Resort in Florida to sit on 5-under 135. A bogey on his last was the only blemish for the Korean, who is back on the PGA TOUR after spending one season on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Countryman Sungjae Im, winner of The Honda Classic in 2020, slipped to tied 28th place on 138 following a 71 which included a double bogey while S.H. Kim will enter the weekend rounds on 141 after a 73.

Suh, who was the Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year in 2022, produced a sublime 64 which included seven birdies to mark his career-low round on the PGA TOUR. Chasing a maiden TOUR victory, the 25-year-old leads by one from Chris Kirk, who fired a career low 62. Kirk is looking to end an eight-year title drought since winning the Charles Schwab Challenge in 2015.

An outrageous 49-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 16th hole, his seventh hole of the day, sparked An into life. After turning in 34, he hit top form by making an eagle and three birdies over a five-hole stretch. He holed a 22-foot eagle putt on the par-5 third hole.

“From the third to the fifth hole, I managed to score an eagle and backed it up with two consecutive birdies. I made some good shots to create those chances which I took them well,” said An, who is making his 13th start of the season.

“Compared to yesterday, the speed of the green seems to be a little slower than the usual Honda Classic. That’s why I think the score is getting better.  The course was softer than I thought and the wind was less windy than usual, so these factors helped to shoot a better score. Overall, 5-under was pretty good.”

Suh, with a two-day total of 130, intends to make the most of his second career 36-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. “It feels good. I think we’ve been trending in the right direction. Every week I’ve been improving and I think it’s gratifying just to see the progressive work pay off,” said Suh, who holds one career top-10 on TOUR.

“Just pick a spot and hit to it. I think we’re trying to keep this golf course as simple as we can, hitting it to good positions and trying to make as many putts as you can.”

Partial Second-Round Notes – Friday, February 24, 2023

Weather: Partly cloudy. High of 84. Wind E 6-12 mph. Play was suspended due to darkness at 6:27 p.m. with two players yet to complete their round. Those players will be back in position at 6:50 a.m., with the third round consisting of threesomes off one tee from approximately 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Cut: 78 players are currently guaranteed to make the cut, which came at 1-over 141. The two players who did not finish their round, Brett Drewitt and Pierceson Coody, are at 1-over and need a par or better on their final hole to make the cut.

Partial Second-Round Leaderboard             

Justin Suh                           66-64—130 (-10)

Chris Kirk                            69-62—131 (-9)

Ryan Gerard                       69-63—132 (-8)

Ben Taylor                          67-65—132 (-8)

Leading Asian/Aussie Scores

Byeong Hun An                    70-65 – 135 (-5, T10)

Min Woo Lee                        68-69 – 137 (-3, T22)

Cameron Percy                    69-68 – 137 (-3, T22)

Sungjae Im                            67-71 – 138 (-2, T28)

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