January 27 2012
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Who says the South Course is hard?
PGA TOUR rookie Sang-moon Bae has just birdied five of his final six holes on the front nine to move into sole possession of the lead at 12 under.
All of Bae's birdie putts have come from inside 11 feet. He turned in 31 and owns a one-stroke lead over Kyle Stanley and a two-stroke advantage over Bill Haas.
Stanley, who was one of the overnight leaders, and Haas are each 1 under through three and four holes, respectively on the front nine. Spencer Levin, who was tied with Stanley after both opened with 62s, is 1 over through five holes on the South.
The 25-year-old Bae isn't exactly the typical PGA TOUR rookie, though. The South Korea turned pro at the age of 18 and has played on the Korean Tour, Japan Golf Tour and Asian Tour.
He has won a tournament each of the last six years -- including three in 2011 when he led the Japan Tour Order of Merit. He closed with a 66 at the Humana Challenge last week and finished in a tie for 14th.