Both Tom McKibbin and Gary Hurley will have the weekend off after they missed the 36-hole cut at the DP World Tour’s Korea Championship presented by Genesis at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club.
After matching three-over 75s in round one, both players knew that they needed to go at least five better in round two if they were to have any chance of earning a weekend tee time, and McKibbin who played in the morning began his day with a birdie at the first and added another at the third to get to -2 through three. A bogey-five at the fourth halted the momentum, but he’d go birdie, bogey, birdie to finish off the front nine and leave himself in the knowledge that shooting red figures on the back nine should see him safely through.
A bogey at the tenth was a significant setback, however, and though he’d cancel that out with another birdie at the 15th, he was unable to pick up any further strokes on the remaining three holes and signed for a two-under 70 which left him on +1 for the tournament and sitting precariously close the cut line.
Playing in the later wave, Hurley had a clearer picture of what was required, and like McKibbin, he’d traverse the opening nine in two under thanks to birdies at four and seven, and again, like McKibbin, knew that shooting under par on the way home should be enough.
Unfortunately, he’d bogey the 12th and was unable to mount any serious charge afterwards, ultimately signing for a one-under 71 to finish tied 84th on +2, with McKibbin’s tally of +1 only good for a tie for 73rd.
Home favourite Park Sanghyun produced a big finish to sit alongside Yannik Paul at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage.
After firing three front-nine birdies to turn in 33, 40-year-old Park dropped his first shot of the day at the 16th to fall one stroke adrift of early clubhouse leader Paul’s eight-under-par total with two holes to play.
But the South Korean saved his best for last, completing an impressive up-and-down from around 25 feet on the 18th green to sign for a second-round 69 and grab a share of the lead after German Paul made five birdies and a solitary bogey in the morning to post a second successive 68.
“The weather was really good,” said Ryder Cup candidate Paul. “It was actually warmer than I thought. But yeah, the pins made it hard to get close to. And if you’re on the wrong side, you have absolutely no shot. I think it’s just got to stay patient and wait for your chances.
“It’s just halfway through the tournament. I know a lot of stuff can happen, so just try to focus on myself and know the things that you can’t really control. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it doesn’t. So I just try to hit good shots and then I kind of see where I end up.”
“There are two more round so I don’t want to get complacent,” said Park. “With the tournament being on the DP World Tour as well as the KPGA, I want to prove that Korean players can have a chance to win on the DP World Tour. I think other players feel the same and that is why a lot of Korean players are playing well at the moment.”
First-round leader Antoine Rozner was one shot back in a tie for third alongside fellow Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon after a roller-coaster 74 that included three birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey.
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, who tied Lorenzo-Vera for the low round of the day with his 65, was then amongst six players on six under par.
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