PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Here are four observations from Friday’s second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. For more on all the action, click here to read the Daily Wrap-Up.
YOU SURE IT WASN’T 61? When Sung Kang made the turn Friday afternoon at Monterey Peninsula, he was 6 under on his round. His amateur playing partner, comedian Ray Romano, quizzed him about his career low. Kang said it was 61.
Nine holes later, Romano went to congratulate his partner. “Hey, you beat your career round,” Romano said.
Kang, a quizzical look on his face, replied, “No, I didn’t. I shot 61.”
Romano corrected him. “You shot 60.”
Not until a few minutes later did Kang and his caddie, Fluff Cowan, confirm the score: an 11-under 60, which ties a course and tournament record while giving the Korean a share of the second-round lead with Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata.
Kang revealed he wasn’t sure what par was at Monterey Peninsula, one of the three courses in the tournament’s rotation this week. His caddie, Fluff Cowan, had told him that the 16th had been lengthened to a par 5. That happened two years ago, making the course a par 71.
Perhaps not knowing the par actually proved beneficial for Kang, who had nine birdies and an eagle. He said the possibility of shooting 59 never entered his mind, and thus was relieved of any of that pressure.
Instead, the 60 gives him the unique distinction of having shot the lowest round ever on the PGA TOUR by an Asian-born player; it’s just the 30th time that a player has shot 60 in TOUR history. He took all the records in stride.
“You know what? I’m just here to have fun,” said Kang. “I’m just excited to play with Ray, and then having Mike on my bag – that’s just good enough for me already this week.”
AND ABOUT FLUFF? With Jim Furyk sidelined for three months with a wrist injury, Cowan was temporarily without a bag. When Kang decided to separate from his previous caddie, he needed a new one.
Their connection came via Steve Hulka, a former full-time caddie who also has a business moving players’ golf equipment and travel bags from event to event. Hulka told Kang that Fluff was available and made the call.
Cowan quickly agreed to the temporary arrangement. “It was pretty simple,” said Kang.
Considering Cowan’s experience, it should provide quick dividends for the 28-year-old Kang, who’s making just his 58th PGA TOUR start this week. Kang said he not only trusts Cowan’s advice but appreciates the measured pace in which Cowan walks the course.
“I kind of tend to get a little bit hurried,” Kang said. “He can’t walk fast, so I’m trying to walk with him, which kind of makes me calm down a little bit. He doesn’t really push me too hard. I think it’s working out great this week.”
PHIL’S BIG MOVE. Phil Mickelson put a new driver and 3-wood in his bag this week. He wasn’t happy with the driver on Thursday, and went back to his old one for Round 2 at Monterey Peninsula.
The move was a positive one, as he was 7 under on his round through the first 10 holes.
But after that, he needed to call on his new 3-wood, and it let him down. He missed the fairway on the par-5 12th, and it resulted in his first bogey. He missed the fairway again with his 3-wood at the 18th. Another bogey.
A potentially great round turned into a solid one, a 6-under 65 that leaves him one shot off the pace heading into the weekend. Were it not for the faulty 3-wood, he might be leading this tournament.
“I didn’t expect to play 1 over coming in,” Mickelson said. “But I’m not going to complain because I made a lot of good putts on the front.”
And about that new 3-wood?
“Looks like I’m going to go back to my old 3-wood,” he said.
GET READY FOR CELEBRITY SATURDAY: The third round is traditionally when the biggest celebrities get their crack at Pebble Beach. With those celebrities will also be many of this week’s notable players, including world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, who’s playing with country music star Jake Owen.
Spieth will start the third round eight shots off the pace, but he hasn’t given up hope of making a big weekend move.
“My game feels great. I’m playing much better than I’m scoring,” Spieth said after his second-round 69 at Monterey Peninsula. “… On Pebble, you get a couple good low rounds and you never know with conditions out here. I’m still in the tournament.”
Justin Rose, who is playing with Justin Timberlake, is just two shots behind after a 68 on Friday. Playing this tournament for the first time, he likes having a full weekend at Pebble Beach.
“You can focus on closing out the tournament now in one spot and trying to go from there,” he said.
Besides Timberlake, Owen and Ray Romano (Kang’s partner), some of the other celebrities who’ll play at Pebble Beach on Saturday include actor Mark Wahlberg (paired with Bubba Watson); actor Bill Murray (with D.A. Points); Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (with Jerry Kelly) and Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky (with Dustin Johnson).
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Andy Garcia's fabulous birdie chip in is the Shot of the Day
CALL OF THE DAY
Free play-by-play coverage of the third round streams from 1-6 p.m. ET Saturday on PGATOUR.COM
QUOTE OF THE DAYThe ocean looked pretty angry out there today.
ROUND 2 SCORING AVERAGES
Course Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative Pebble Beach GL 36.039 36.961 73.000 72.528 Spyglass Hill 37.038 35.750 72.788 72.337 Monterey Peninsula 34.961 35.827 70.788 70.057
BEST TWEETS OF THE DAY
Sung Kang's last six rounds on TOUR:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 12, 2016
Golf is a funny game. ⛳️ pic.twitter.com/4UDexUa6h9
Pebble Beach. pic.twitter.com/MzsiTAaLDE— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 12, 2016