Suh grabs lead at Honda Classic but Kirk on fire
Justin Sue took a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens with a birdie on the final hole, giving him a six-under-par round of 64.
His compatriot Chris Kirk trailed slightly after leading the under-62 eight round of the day, one shy of the PGA National circuit record.
Ryan Gerard and Englishman Ben Taylor were both two strokes behind Su in the tournament.
Su, 25, is in his first full season on the PGA Tour after an outstanding year on his second Korn Ferry Tour, where he finished first in the points race for the season.
The Californian got off to a shaky start with horror on the second par-4 hole after he missed a four-foot putt.
But he put together a streak of four birdies in a row from hole eight onwards and ended a fine round with a superb third shot on the 18th hole, which he landed seven feet from the hole.
“I think we played quite conservatively, but aggressively towards our points. We definitely left some room for ourselves, but I thought we just hit the right spots on the green,” Suh said.
“We made some delayed putts that thankfully just ended and that’s always the key to good weeks, so hopefully we’ll just keep going,” he added.
Kirk played positively, offensively, and was awarded an eagle on the third par-five hole, where he hit his second shot from 247 yards to just under 20 feet from the hole.
The 37-year-old hit four birdies on a back nine but had to settle for pairs on the final three holes due to a possible under-60 score.
Birdie on the 18th would have equaled the record low round of 61 set by Brian Harman in 2012 and equaled Australian Matt Jones two years earlier, but Kirk missed a 14-footer.
“It was a shame not to do it. I felt like I deserved a birdie at 18 after such a great wedge, but I misinterpreted the hit. I definitely won’t let it ruin a really good day,” he said.
Kirk is looking for his fifth tour win and first since winning the Colonial in 2015, but if he can maintain the form he showed on Friday, he has a real chance.
“It was definitely the conditions that made it possible to be a little more aggressive, to be able to dial in, sort of like carrying distances and things like that with irons and wedges better,” he said.
“Usually we play 15, 20+ yards from hitting downwind… but today there was almost no breathing for most of the round, so there was a bit more shooting practice.”
Gerard, who made it to the tournament via Tuesday’s open qualifier, also finished in third place with an impressive 63 points in just his second start on the PGA Tour.