Golf

Gap-in-one helps Kim construct Four-shot lead at Valero

SAN ANTONIO — Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth are efficiently fine-tuning their preparations for the Masters.

Nevertheless, they have not been in a position to match Si Woo Kim thus far on the Valero Texas Open.

First-round chief Kim used a late-round hole-in-one Friday to construct a four-shot lead on the midway level of the PGA Tour’s final cease earlier than the Masters. Kim, the 2017 Gamers Championship winner, led by one heading into the second spherical earlier than taking pictures a 6-under 66.

Kim aced TPC San Antonio’s 16th gap and is 12 below by 36 holes. He leads six gamers at eight below, together with Fowler and Spieth.

“The primary days right here, I have been feeling good,” Kim mentioned. “I do not need to change something.”

Fowler led on the again 9 till consecutive bogeys late within the spherical.

“Yeah, at 15 and 16, type of just a little unforced errors,” Fowler mentioned. “That occurs. I hit some good pictures on the market and made a number of putts. I am proud of it. Clearly in a great place going into the weekend.”

Becoming a member of Fowler and Spieth — each shot 68 — are Harold Varner (66), Adam Schenk (66), Kyoung-Hoon Lee (67) and Monday-qualifier Corey Connors (67). Lee acquired it to 9 below earlier than a bogey on his remaining gap of the day.

Si Woo Kim watches a shot on the 15th gap through the second spherical of the Valero Texas Open on Friday in San Antonio. AP Picture/Eric Homosexual

Kim’s ace on the 167-yard 16th bounced towards the flagstick, landed subsequent to the lip of the cup and dropped in. He has gone 26 holes with no bogey and has 9 birdies together with the ace.

“I used to be making an attempt to hit to the left fringe of the bunker, with the wind,” Kim mentioned. “It was a 9-iron. I noticed the bounce, however I by no means noticed it go in.”

Byeong Hun An (68), Matt Jones (68), Rory Sabbatini (68), Scott Stallings (69), Brian Stuard (70), Josh Teater (68) and Jim Knous (67) are 7 below.

Graeme McDowell, who gained for the primary time since 2015 final week on the PGA Tour’s occasion within the Dominican Republic, has shot consecutive 69s and is joined at 6 below by Scott Brown, Hank Lebioda, Ryan Moore and Jhonattan Vegas.

Brown had a 67, Lebioda and Moore 70s, and Vegas a 71.

Fowler, who drove the inexperienced on the 327-yard fifth gap and eagled, held a lead early on the again 9. After the eagle, he made birdie putts of 43 toes, 10 toes and 25 toes. However he three-putted from 23 toes on the 15th and barely acquired out of a green-side bunker on the 16th, leaving a chip and putt for one more bogey.

“At 16, I really hit an ideal tee shot,” Fowler mentioned. “I used to be simply anticipating the wind to carry it a bit higher, and clearly, it did not.”

He acquired a stroke again with a birdie on the 17th, however his try to achieve the par-5 18th in two landed him in a stream in entrance of the inexperienced. He chipped up and completed with a par.

Spieth had no late-round hiccups. As a substitute, he holed out from 113 yards for an eagle on the 17th gap. Earlier within the day, he chipped in from off his second inexperienced.

“I simply slid below the ball actually properly on that chip shot, landed proper on my spot, simply trickled in,” Spieth mentioned. “Definitely a bonus on the opening out. Within the air, I assumed it was going to be fairly good.”

Kim surged to a two-shot lead when he chipped to a foot away on the par-5 14th gap and tapped in for birdie. He acquired up-and-down from a bunker on the 15th, placing from virtually 10 toes to avoid wasting par. He did not want the putter on the 16th.

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