Korea’s Sungjae Im ground out a second successive 2-under 69 at The Genesis Invitational on Friday to stay on the fringe of contention as 2021 winner Max Homa seized control of the US$20 million PGA TOUR showpiece.
Im made three birdies against a lone bogey at Riviera Country Club to sit in a share of 12th place, six shots behind Homa who will take a one-stroke lead into the third round following a 68 as he chases a seventh PGA TOUR victory.
Tournament host Tiger Woods looks set to make the weekend after a 73 left him in T60, with 14 players to complete their second rounds on Saturday morning after play was suspended due to fading light.
The 24-year-old Im, who is a two-time PGA TOUR winner, is enjoying a purple patch of form following a T4 and T6 finish in his last two starts at the Farmers Insurance Open and WM Phoenix Open. He scrambled beautifully at the iconic venue on Friday, saving par on six occasions thanks to some deft touches.
“First of all, I started off well with a birdie from the beginning, and then I continued to play steadily with pars. Unfortunately, I struggled with a bogey on the back nine, but I think I finished the second round well with a 2-under,” said Im, who made birdies on the first, 11th and 16th holes.
“I’ve enjoyed top-10s twice recently, and I hope I can use that momentum to make it into the top-10 again,” added the Korean, whose best finish at Riviera was T33 last year.
In his first tournament since the 2022 Open Championship last July, Woods, 47, scrambled to a 74 for a 143 total which should see him squeezing into the weekend right on the number. After finishing with three closing birdies for an opening 69 on Thursday, Woods stumbled with three bogeys over his last four holes on Friday.
Im has also been keeping one eye on the 82-time PGA TOUR winner, even rooting for the American legend who has battled a leg injury recently following a car accident in 2021. “I’m so happy that Tiger is in this week’s tournament, and every player, including me, loves it. I think everybody will love the fact that Tiger can play the weekend. I hope Tiger does a great job in the last two rounds,” said Im.
Compatriot Tom Kim, who attended The Genesis Invitational as a fan in 2020, shot a second round 70 for a share of 33rd place on 141.
Homa, currently second on the FedExCup standings, is looking to become the first player to win three times this season and moved closer to his goal following six birdies against three bogeys. Keith Mitchell (69), Jon Rahm (68) and Lee Hodges (66) share second place, one back.
PARTIAL Second-Round Notes – Friday, February 17, 2023
Weather: Mostly Cloudy. High of 57. Wind NE 5-10 mph. The first round resumed at 7:43 a.m. and was completed at 8:22 a.m. Second-round play was suspended due to darkness at 5:39 p.m. PT with 14 players left to complete the round and is scheduled to resume at 7:10 a.m. Saturday. Third-round tee times will be in threesomes off Nos. 1 and 10 tees from approximately 8:40 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
PROJECTED 36-hole cut: 70 players at 1-over 143 from a field of 128 professionals and one amateur (TBD Saturday)
PARTIAL Second-Round Leaderboard
Max Homa 64-68—132 (-10)
Keith Mitchell 64-69—133 (-9)
Jon Rahm 65-68—133 (-9)
Lee Hodges 67-66—133 (-9)
Collin Morikawa 66-68—134 (-8)
Patrick Cantlay 68-67—135 (-7)
Rory McIlroy 67-69—136 (-6)
Matt Kuchar 66-70—136 (-6)
Sungjae Im 69-69 – 138 (-4, T12)
Jason Day 72-67 – 139 (-3, T21)
Tom Kim 71-70 – 141 (-1, T33)
Tiger Woods 67-74 – 143 (+1, T60)