By Joe Chemycz, Web.com Tour staff
CANONSBURG, Penn. – South Korea’s Whee Kim fired a 6-under 65 Friday and assumed the lead after 36 holes of the Mylan Classic. Kim, a 21-year-old Tour rookie, managed to decipher the swirling winds at the Southpointe Golf Club and post an 11-under 131 total, two in front of Clemson grad Ben Martin (67).
In a strange and sad twist of fate, Auburn grad Blayne Barber was disqualified late in the day when he signed for an incorrect scorecard. Barber had posted a 5-under 66 and would have been tied for second at 9-under par but signed for a birdie-3 on No. 16 when he made a par-4.
“I looked over it and I just didn’t see it,” said Barber, who was in the second-to-last group of the day and had just finished talking with the media when the error surfaced. “Somehow I missed it. He (walking scorer) missed it. We all missed it. It’s unfortunate because it could have been corrected.”
Barber checked his score on line shortly after leaving the media center and noticed he was listed with a 65 and a 10-under total. He notified tournament officials of the discrepancy and following a brief discussion was disqualified.
Barber gained entry into the tournament as a member of last year’s Walker Cup team and was in position to challenge the leaders on the weekend.
The 23-year-old made headlines last fall when he disqualified himself nearly a week after advancing through the first stage of the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. Barber called a one-stroke penalty on himself when he thought his club moved a leaf in a bunker. He applied a one-stroke penalty to his score and didn’t realize the correct penalty is two shots. The net result was that Barber was denied the chance to advance to the finals of Q-school and potentially gain playing status on the PGA TOUR or the Web.com Tour for the 2013 schedule.
“It sounds careless,” Barber said of error today. “I don’t even know what emotions I’m going through right now.”
Veteran Cliff Kresge posted his second-straight 67 and is alone in third at 8-under 134 with Korea’s I.J. Jang (67), Guy Boros (69), Kevin Kim (67) and Nick Rousey (65) another shot back and four off the lead.
“The wind was switching every second, every shot,” said Kim, who is No. 28 on the money list. “My head switched too.”
Kim was one of the few players that wasn’t affected by the winds or the difficult and hilly terrain that has confused and exhausted many during the tournament’s four-year run south of Pittsburgh.
“I like windy days and a slopey course,” said Kim. “I have a lot of experience playing on courses similar in Korea. All of the courses are on mountains and are very windy. I have confidence on this course. I thought this course is very good for all Korean golfers.”
Kim also seems to have rediscovered his putting rhythm on the tricky greens. On the 123-yard, 5th hole, Kim faced a slick, 20-foot downhill birdie putt.
“It was very, very fast,” he said. “I aimed way left. I barely touched it, maybe hit it one inch.”
Kim one-putted 13 times officially and had another go in from the fringe, giving him 21 for the day.
Martin, meantime, hit 17 greens in regulation but had 32 total putts. This year’s United Leasing Championship winner didn’t negotiate the downhill slopes as well and three-putted three times for his only three bogeys.
“It was a really good day other than my speed on some of those putts,” said Martin, who has climbed to No. 4 on the money list. “I don’t think I’ve three-putted in weeks and to have three in one round is abnormal. It’s a little bit disappointing. Those are shots that you throw away. It’s not like I’m putting bad, I just had some speed issues.”
-- Weather – Mostly sunny. Overnight low 60. Daytime high 75. Wind W 8-16 mph.
-- A total of 67 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 1-over-par 143. The cut is for the low professionals and ties. Amateur Joel Stalter (73-68—141/T36) made the cut but an amateur cannot affect the cut. Blayne Barber’s disqualification did not alter the cut.
-- Saturday’s tee times have been moved up in anticipation of possible thunderstorms. Play will be in threesomes off the first and tenth tees starting at 8:45 a.m.
-- Philippe Gasnier withdrew prior to the start of the second round. Brian Prouty withdrew during the round due to a wrist injury. Reid Edstrom withdrew during the round due to a migraine headache.
-- Whee Kim is a 21-year old rookie from South Korea. He led last fall’s PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament after both the second and third rounds before finishing T43 at PGA West in Palm Springs, Calif. He posted a course-record 63 in the second round. He was named the Rookie of the Year on the Korean Tour.
-- Kim has made the cut in eight of his 16 starts prior to this week. He has four top-25 finishes, including a T2 at the Mexico Open and is No. 28 on the money list.
-- Kim’s 11-under 131 total is his best 36-hole score this year. His previous low opening-36 of 134 came at the Chile Classic and the Utah Championship.
-- The tournament’s 36-hole record of 13-under 129 was set by Kevin Kisner in 2011.
-- Kim shared the 54-hole lead at the Mexico Open with Alex Prugh at 11-under par. Kim posted an even-par 72 in the final round and tied for second, two strokes back of winner Michael Putnam, who came from four shots back to win with a 6-under 66.
-- Ben Martin has made the cut in 13 of 16 starts this year and has 10 top-25 finishes. He was a playoff winner at the United Leasing Championship in Evansville, Ind. He has posted only one score above par in his last 22 rounds – a 1-over 73 in the second round of the Midwest Classic in Kansas City two weeks ago. Here is how he has played in last five starts:
-- Barber has made the cut in only one of his previous four starts on Tour this year. The former Auburn All-American tied for 6th at the Chitimacha Louisiana but missed the cut at the Brasil Classic, the Mid-Atlantic Championship and the Air Capital Classic. Barber has earned $17,806 this year and is No. 141 on the money list.
-- Chad Collins has revved up his game in recent weeks and is No. 34 on the money list. Collins has made the cut in eight of his 16 starts and has a pair of T3 finishes. Three weeks ago he fired an 11-under 60 in the second round of the Utah Championship. Collins was 11-under through 12 holes at Willow Creek CC but then made six consecutive pars down the stretch.
-- Collins’ 1-over round of 72 today ends his streak of consecutive rounds below par at 13. He was a cumulative 54-under par since his opening 66 at the Utah Championship.
-- First-round leader Zack Sucher posted an even-par 71 and stands at 6-under 136 through two rounds. He is tied for eighth place, along with local favorite Steve Wheatcroft (70) and Texan Brad Elder (68).
-- Kevin Tway, winner of last week’s Albertsons Boise Open, fired a 1-under-par 70 Friday and advanced to the weekend with his 1-over 143 score. Tway has managed to hit only 17 of 28 fairways (T99) and 22 of 36 greens in regulation (T98) through the first 36 holes.
-- Leading money winner Michael Putnam double-bogeyed his final hole today for an even-par 71 that left him at 4-over and caused him to miss the cut. Putnam, the Tour’s only two-time winner this year, had made the cut in 13 of his 16 starts this year and nine of his past 10.
-- Andres Echavarria rebounded with a 4-under 67 after opening with an 80 on Thursday. Echavarria played his final five holes in 6-under par, closing with a 2-3-3-3-3 run. The former Florida Gator finished his day on the front nine with a B-B-B-E-B stretch that resulted in a 6-under 29, which tied the tournament record on the front. Dicky Pride (R1/2010) and Edward Loar (R1/2012) also posted 29s on that side. Echavarria’s 5-over 147 total wasn’t good enough to qualify him for the weekend.
-- Echavarria finished at 5-over par but might be the tournament leader if he played only the front nine. The 25-year old Colombia native played the front nine in 5-under par for two days (36-29—65) and played the back nine in 10-over par (44-38).
-- Cliff Kresge ran off a string of five consecutive birdies which matched the second-longest streak in tournament history. Kresge’s streak came on Nos. 13-17. Nick Flanagan holds the tourney mark of seven in a row (Nos. 8-14) in the second round last year. Matt Weibring, Andrew Svoboda and Steve Dartnall all had five in a row in 2011.
-- Spencer Levin, a playoff runner-up to Kevin Tway at last week’s Albertsons Boise Open, played his firs 13 holes in 7-under par Friday. The Sacramento resident, who is making his third rehab start (hand surgery), bogeyed two of his final three holes for a 5-under 66 and a 3-under 139 total.
-- Paul Claxton (70-67—137) is making his 410th career start on the Web.com Tour. He is now tied with Ben Bates for the most starts in Tour history. Claxton is also No. 2 on the Tour’s all-time money list with $1,751,190.
-- The Southpointe GC course record is 62, first set by Brad Adamonis in the second round in 2011 and matched later that day by 2010 champion Kevin Kisner. Danny Lee also tied the mark in the fourth round that year.
-- The Web.com Tour returns to Springfield, Mo. for next week’s Price Cutter Charity Championship. The tournament is one of four original events that remains from the Tour’s inaugural season in 1990. The 24th edition will once again be contested at the Highland Springs Country Club August 8-11.