Bernie McGuire at Fairmont Resort, St. Andrews
In-from Spaniard David Puig brilliantly emerged from an overnight log-jam atop of the board to stamp his class and emerge as a three-shot leader heading into the weekend of the Asian Tour’s inaugural St. Andrews Bay Championship.
Puig had finished fourth in last week’s maiden Asian Tour stop at Close House in England and now the 21-year-old LIV Golf star is again making his presence felt with rounds of 66 and 64 to show the way to the weekend at the Home of Golf.
The La Garriga-born golfer, who only turned pro last September, capped his second round in the glorious sunny and wind-free conditions with four one-putt birdies over his closing four holes on the host Torrance course.
“Played pretty good again,” said Puig.
“Didn’t start that good on the first five holes swing wise, but yeah, after number five, the par- three, I think I played very well and hit it very good off the tee. And almost made every putt I needed to make, so yeah, I’m very happy with my game.”
He’s come close to winning before on the Asian Tour, at last year’s International Series Morocco, where he was third, and last week’s International Series England, where he tied for fourth.
He has, however, enjoyed phenomenal team success on the LIV Golf League this season, winning four team titles with Torque GC – the franchise also consisting of captain Joaquin Niemann and Pereira.
Puig says he his reaping the rewards of many hours of practice and preparation.
“Off the tee I got a lot better for sure. I got longer and straighter with pretty much every club, which obviously helps a ton especially on courses like this one where you need to get to fairways,” he said,
“I would say because of focusing too much on that, maybe I am not that good, or as good as I want to be, or as good as I was with the wedges, but it’s a work in progress. I know it’s the best part of my game, it just didn’t show up yet the way I want it. But yeah, I mean working with Dave Phillips, who is my coach, we’ve been working hard, swing wise, setup wise and also in the gym, so very, very happy with the improvement.”
Puig is one of the youngest players on the LIV Golf tour having joined LIV Golf last year as an amateur.
His prodigious exploits as an amateur in Spain earned him a place at Arizona State University and in under three full seasons with Arizona, he won three events and recorded seven top-10 finishes to highlight his talent and potential.
South African Jaco Ahlers is second place at 11-under, following a 67.
Australians Matt Jones (65) and Andrew Dodt (68), Eugenio Chacarra (66) from Spain, England’s James Wilson (66), American Micah Lauren Shin (67), Korean Seungtaek Lee (67) and Chile’s Mito Pereira (68) are in a tie for third, four behind Puig at 10-under.
Big disappointment for weekend golf fans with Masters champ Sergio Garcia missing the halfway cut by four shots with scores of 77 and 69.
Joining him was fellow Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castona who signed for rounds of 74 and 72, for a similar two-over tally.