Tournament article

Kim plots another masterclass to hold lead

Kim plots another masterclass to hold lead

American Chan Kim remained on course for his first JGTO title of the season after shrugging off a nervy start to retain a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Casio World Open.

The 32-year-old Kim followed up with another brilliant six-under-par 66 at the Kochi Kuroshio Country Club to head into the weekend on 14-under-par 130.

Aguri Iwasaki emerged as Kim's closest challenger with a matching 66, while Australia's Brendan Jones (65), South Korea's Young-han Song (66) and Kaito Onishi (65) all kept themselves in contention at 11-under

Led by two overnight, Kim was one-over through four holes no thanks to a blemish on the par-three second. But he bounced back with a pair of birdies on the fifth and ninth to move to one-under for the day.

Kim bettered that right after the turn as he sank three more birdies over the next five holes before finishing with a glorious eagle on the par-five 18th.

It was Kim's second successive eagle on the same hole after he also scored '3' there en route to a sizzling inward-nine six-under 30 on Thursday.

Kim said he has his hot putter to thank for his solid opening 36-hole display and vowed to stretch his lead tomorrow.

"I was putting it very well during the pro-am and yesterday too. So, even if I made a mistake with my shot, I know I will be able t make up for it with my putting. That's probably what helped me to play well in these two days," said Kim.

"The most important thing to do now is to keep shooting low and try to break away from my closest competitors.

"I will stick to my goal to hit five-under every day."

Jones, a two-time runner-up in 2017 and 2018, turned back the clock to fire a superb 65 to be just three shots off the pace.

He bagged seven birdies in his bogey-free card to keep himself in the chase for the 15th JGTO title.

Justin De Los Santos of the Philippines (69), American Todd Baek (67) and Dongkyu Jang of South Korea (69) are the other international members still on the fringe of contention as they tied for 13th on 136.

Leading second-round scores:

(Japan unless stated)

130 - Chan Kim (US) 64-66;

133 - Brendan Jones (Aus) 68-65, Young-han Song (Kor) 67-66, Kaito Onishi 68-65;

134 - Satoshi Kodaira 67-67, Yuta Ikeda;

135 - Keita Nakajima 67-68, Sang-hyun Park (Kor) 68-67, Tomoharu Otsuki 68-67, Ryuko Tokimatsu 68-67, Rikuya Hoshino 67-68.