Justin Suh fired a 6-under 64, the lowest round of his PGA Tour career, to take the 36-hole lead at the Honda Classic on Friday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Suh recovered from an early bogey by making six birdies between holes No. 6-13, then added an 8-footer at the par-5 18th for his seventh and final birdie of the day at PGA National Resort.
That last putt allowed him to enter the weekend at 10-under 130, one stroke ahead of Chris Kirk, who posted the low round of the day with an 8-under 62 to reach 9-under 131.
“I think we played it pretty conservative, but aggressive to our spots,” Suh said. “We definitely left ourselves some opportunities, but I thought we just hit it to the right spots on the green.
“We made some long lag putts that fortunately just went in, and that’s always a key to some good weeks, so hopefully we just keep it rolling.”
Suh, 25, won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship last September to earn full status for this PGA Tour season. The rookie’s best finish this season was a T20 at last month’s Farmers Insurance Open.
“It feels good,” Suh said of leading the tournament. “You know, I think we’ve been trending in the right direction. Every week I’ve been improving and just certain spots, and I think it’s gratifying just to see the progressive work pay off.”
Kirk, a tour veteran and four-time winner, made an eagle at the par-5 third and added six birdies while keeping his card free of bogeys. He made a 19-foot putt for the eagle, later adding a left-to-right 29 1/2-footer for birdie at the par-4 13th.
Kirk missed a birdie putt at the last hole that would have tied the course record. The 37-year-old will be in the last group Saturday with Suh.
“I definitely am not doubting any of the young talent coming out here,” said Kirk, who hasn’t won since 2015. “It’s a lot of really good young guys that hit it a lot further than me and are playing with a lot of confidence. I think you’ll continue to see that week after week.”
Tied for third at 8 under are Ryan Gerard (63) and Englishman Ben Taylor (65).
Gerard, who qualified for the field on Monday, is making his second professional start. He holed a 22-foot eagle putt at No. 3 and finished with six birdies and one bogey.
“This is my dream ever since I was a little kid, just playing PGA Tour events,” Gerard said. “I’m still on the road there, not officially made it yet, but I just really enjoy playing golf.”
Ben Martin (64), Brice Garnett (64) and Eric Cole (66) are tied for fifth at 7 under.
Three players were still playing their final hole when play was suspended due to darkness. Pierceson Coody and Australian Brett Drewitt will need to make a par or better when they return Saturday in order to make the cut of 1 over. Andrew Novak (2 under) just needs to avoid a quadruple bogey.
Notable names to miss the cut include Charley Hoffman (2 over), Matt Kuchar (4 over), Harris English (4 over) and England’s Luke Donald (7 over).
–Field Level Media
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