Graeme McDowell remains inside the top-20 but lost ground on the leaders on day two of The CJ Cup in South Korea.
In the first event of a three-tournament PGA Tour swing through Asia, McDowell recovered from two bogeys on his front nine with three birdies on the way home to post a one-under par 71 at Nine Bridges.
The 40-year old finds himself sharing 18th at five-under par but lost significant ground on the leaders after Justin Thomas took control of the competition when firing a scintillating nine-under par round of 63 on day two.
The American, who won the inaugural CJ CUP in 2017, had a two-round total of 13-under par to lead South Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee (66) who was in a tie for second place with first-round leader Byeong Hun An, who shot 69 in front of his home fans.
Jordan Spieth (65) and Emiliano Grillo (66) were tied for fourth, four strokes behind.
Thomas birdied his first four holes and was 6-under after 10 holes.
“Overall one of the better rounds in a while,” Thomas said. “It came pretty easy, for the most part. I never had to worry much out there.”
After a 66 on Thursday, Jason Day bogeyed four of his last six holes Friday for a 73 and was eight strokes behind.
Last year’s runner-up Gary Woodland had a second straight 71 and was 11 behind at 2-under with Phil Mickelson, who shot 72. Defending champion Brooks Koepka had four bogeys on his first nine for a 75 and was 13 strokes behind.
Mickelson had the shot of the day, hitting a 353-yard tee shot which hit the flag on the par-4 14th, stopping 8 inches from the cup. That set up a tap-in eagle.
Full scoring HERE
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