Washington, Sept 6, 2020 (AFP) -South Korea’s Im Sung-jae birdied three of the final word 4 holes nonetheless top-ranked Dustin Johnson clung to a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s second spherical of the US PGA Tour Championship.
Im fired a six-under-par 64 to complete on 12-under nonetheless struggling Johnson, final all through the house in driving accuracy after discovering solely 2-of-14 fairways, closed with a four-foot birdie putt to info on 13-under after 36 holes at East Lake in Atlanta.
“Sturdy one. It was up and down. Merely did not drive it straight ample,” mentioned Johnson. “The entire gadgets else feels good. I managed my sport fairly correctly.
“I could not actually assault the golf course being all through the highly effective and all through the bunkers. I actually really feel I used to be all over the place immediately.”
Im, 22, might very effectively be the second-youngest FedEx Cup winner, two months older than Jordan Spieth when the American captured the 2015 crown.
“I used to be happy with my footage,” Im mentioned. “I hit a variety of fairways, so it made my method footage so much simpler. That gave me a variety of magnificence at birdie, which helped me go low.”
Johnson scrambled to a 70 to carry off charging Im with American Xander Schauffele third on 11-under after a 65 and third-ranked American Justin Thomas fourth on 10-under.
“The highly effective is thick and nastier than I’ve ever seen it,” Schauffele mentioned.
Spain’s Jon Rahm, PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa and England’s Tyrrell Hatton shared fifth on 9-under all through the season-ending showdown for a $15 million playoff prize.
Johnson matched his fewest fairways hit in a PGA spherical, managing solely two furthermore on the 2009 and 2011 Phoenix Open.
“I’ve to drive it elevated over the weekend. Irritated with my tee balls,” Johnson mentioned. “If I need to win this golf event, I’ve obtained to hit further fairways.”
Johnson started the week on 10-under by good thing about his season elements lead with Rahm subsequent on Eight-under, third-ranked American Justin Thomas on 7-under and completely completely different rivals as so much as 10 strokes adrift all through the staggered begin system.
World quantity 27 Im, final season’s US PGA Rookie of the Yr, started the occasion six strokes behind Johnson nonetheless charged collectively alongside together with his third spherical of 65 of decrease provided that June PGA restart after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I actually wasn’t feeling very assured the previous couple of weeks,” Im mentioned. “I truly actually really feel need it’s all coming as soon as extra to me now.”
Johnson, who started day two diploma with Rahm for the lead at 13-under, rolled in a 37-foot birdie putt on the third gap to grab the lead at 14-under.
At 4, his tee shot went deep into the left highly effective and he solely salvaged par attributable to a 31-foot putt.
Johnson sank a six-foot birdie putt on the par-5 sixth to start out a curler coaster end to the doorway 9.
He missed the seventh fairway on one of many easiest methods to bogey, blasted out of a fairway bunker to 43 toes and holed the birdie effort at eight solely to discover a bunker and a bogey on the par-Three ninth.
Johnson went from pine straw left to dense greenside highly effective to bogey 12, then rimmed out a horseshoe 11-foot birdie putt at 14. He made bogey at 15 and solely after Im matched him did Johnson birdie the final word to info alone.
After a run of three birdies and a bogey in 4 holes on the doorway facet, Im opened the as soon as extra 9 with a five-foot birdie putt on the 10th.
Im dropped his method inside eight toes to birdie the par-Three 15th, his subsequent one inside three toes to birdie 16 and sank a three-footer for birdie at 18 to briefly share the lead.
Im mentioned a win would see him purchase a US residence and get monetary monetary financial savings for retirement.
“I am aware of the $15 million on the road, nonetheless I attempt to not have in mind it as quickly as I play,” Im mentioned. “I do know if I play my largest the subsequent two days, the likelihood will come. All of it seems as if a dream.”
Defending playoff champion McIlroy, who turned a father Monday with the beginning of daughter Poppy, fired a 71. It included a chunked shot from the highly effective correct proper right into a lake at 18.
13-under: Dustin Johnson 67-70
12-under: Im Sung-jae (KOR) 68-64
11-under: Xander Schauffele 67-65
10-under: Justin Thomas 66-71
9-under: Collin Morikawa 71-65, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 67-66, Jon Rahm (ESP) 65-74