Strong winds deflate Thomas

Above: American Justin Thomas and his caddie watching his second shot on the third hole during the second round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Jeju Island yesterday. Left: Luke List, ranked 138th in the world, is the surprise halfway leader on 135.
Above: American Justin Thomas and his caddie watching his second shot on the third hole during the second round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Jeju Island yesterday. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: American Justin Thomas and his caddie watching his second shot on the third hole during the second round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Jeju Island yesterday. Left: Luke List, ranked 138th in the world, is the surprise halfway leader on 135.
Above: Luke List, ranked 138th in the world, is the surprise halfway leader on 135. He handled the tricky wind conditions better than many others.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Player of the year slips back with a 74 as the unheralded Luke List leads on nine under

JEJU (South Korea) • World No. 4 Justin Thomas saw his three-shot overnight lead blown away quickly in gusting winds in yesterday's second round of the CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

American Luke List leads the elite 78-man field at the United States PGA Tour's first-ever event in South Korea after he compiled one of the few bogey-free cards, adding a 67 to his opening-round 68 to reach nine-under 135.

"Today was an extremely frustrating day. It was really difficult (with the wind) out there," Thomas, joint-fourth at seven under, said.

"I had some bad breaks, I really did. I hit a couple of good tee shots that were in the middle of the fairway that just had terrible lies."

List, who leads the US$9.25 million (S$12.6 million) tournament by a shot but also had trouble with the less-than-ideal conditions, said: "Any time you go bogey-free, you're really happy about it.

"The wind was tricky today but I was able to save par a lot and then played solid on the back nine.

"If the wind does not blow out here, there will be a lot of birdies. If the wind does blow, you can kind of be a little bit more strategic and try to make some pars out there."

 

  • Birdies by Justin Thomas on his first nine, where he bogeyed Nos. 2, 4 and 8 to reach the turn in three over.

Nine-under was the same mark on which FedExCup champion Thomas had started the day after a sizzling 63 in benign conditions at the Nine Bridges layout on Thursday. He was 11 shots worse as he slumped to a 74 yesterday.

The 23-year-old PGA Tour Player of the Year dropped three shots on the front nine which took him 39 strokes, a stark contrast to Thursday when he made the turn in 29.

He did manage a first birdie at the 10th hole but took six at No. 18 to come home in 35 and slide to a share of fourth place on 137 with Australia's Cameron Smith (68).

"I really fought back hard to get it to one-over going into the 18th, which was kind of our goal after 11 or 12 holes," added Thomas.

"When we got there, it switched into the wind. It has nothing to do with the six shots it took me to play the hole and that sums up the day. It wasn't the best."

Ahead of that pair on eight-under are the 2009 US Open champion Lucas Glover, who improved by two shots to 67, and fellow American Scott Brown who added a two-under 70 to his opening 66.

Former world No. 1 Jason Day faded with a two-over 74, dropping to 24th place and seven strokes off the lead.

South Korean Noh Seung Yul wowed his home fans with a day's best 65 and then revealed he had not played for weeks because of impending military service.

The 25-year-old laid off his regular caddie prior to him joining the army for two years, and had to ask his dad to carry his bag as he returned a card 14 strokes better than his opening 79.

"I only found out on Sunday that I had got into this event. I start my military service in a month, so for a long time I hadn't actually played any golf," Noh, who won the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2014, told reporters.

"I needed a caddie and I remembered I had worked with my father at the Genesis Open and I found him to be quite useful so that's how he has joined me here."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

THE CJ CUP
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'Strong winds deflate Thomas'. Print Edition | Subscribe