Following rounds of 64 and 66, respectively, Sungjae Im and Keith Mitchell share the halftime lead at the Honda Classic.
Im finished his second day at PGA National with seven birdies against one bogey to reach 6 under, while Mitchell carded five gains against one blemish.
It’s the first PGA Tour lead after any round for both Im and Mitchell.
The 20-year old Korean Im cited his accuracy going after pins for his success on Friday.
“I was hitting the ball really well today, so all my putts were under 10 feet, so a lot of the putts I made were short putts,” said Im, who led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green during the second round (+5.751).
“The only long putt I made was on the last, so I think that helped with a lot of the birdies that I made today.”
Co-leader Mitchell, meanwhile, credited his affinity with Bermuda grass for his putting performance.
“I love Bermuda. I’m sorry, I hate poa annua so much I can’t even see straight,” said Mitchell. “Thankfully the first event back on Bermuda. I’m playing every Bermuda event we’ve got this year.”
Alone in third-place was Lucas Glover, who shot a 69 en route to a two-day total of 5-under par.
A nine-player logjam were T4 on 4-under par, headlined Brooks Koepka (69). One further back was another group of nine players tied for 13th on 3-under par, including Sergio Garcia (70).
Rickie Fowler posted a 72 and sits T32 on 1-under par (T32), while playing partner, and defending champion, Justin Thomas, struggled to a 74 to slide into the weekend on the cut line at 2-over par (T67).
THE HONDA CLASSIC: ROUND 2
TOP 5 LEADERS
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Sungjae Im -6 (-6)
1. Keith Mitchell -6 (-4)
3. Lucas Glover -5 (-1)
4. Nine Players Tied -4
Driving: Trey Mullinax – 316.9 yards (T56)
Fairways: Ryan Armour – 24/28, 85.7% (T4)
Greens: Danny Lee – 26/36, 72.2% (T4)
Tot Accuracy: Ryan Armour – 50/64, 78.1% (T4)
Putts/GIR: Charl Schwartzel – 1.545 (T13)
Birdies: Lucas Bjerregaard – 11 (T22)
Pars: Ryan Blaum – 33 (T56)
Bogeys: Stewart Cink – 10 (T80)
Credit: PGA TOUR
A lot of players struggle when they first get out here, but you’ve had some success in a short period of time. Why do you think that is?
SUNGJAE IM: It honestly hasn’t been easy for me, but having that No. 1 position on the Web.com TOUR and not having to worry about re-ranking has helped a lot, getting to play in almost every tournament, and also just being out here has been a great experience. Also having a good start at Safeway helped a lot, racking up the FedEx points early.
Aside from the changing grass, coming down to Florida after missing the last two cuts, what’s been the difference maker this tournament?
KEITH MITCHELL: Well, it’s definitely the grass. It’s Bermuda. I grew up on Bermuda. I know how to putt it. I know how to read it. It’s definitely helped a lot. I’ve worked pretty hard with my putting coach Paul Azenko (ph), and he really helped me with my stroke, and out on the West Coast it looked great but I wasn’t making anything, and I just have a tough time reading poa annua greens, and here in Florida it’s just a lot better for me.