Scott Piercy is making his first appearance in the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges and he must by wondering why he hasn’t been there before.
The 39-year-old Piercy carded a bogey-free, 7-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead over third-ranked Brooks Koepka midway through the third tournament of the new PGA Tour season at Nine Bridges Golf Club http://www.ninebridges.co.kr/eng/ in Jeju Island, South Korea.
“Obviously, the wind was down a little bit and from a little bit different direction, so 10 miles an hour wind versus 20s is quite a big difference,” said Piercy, who birdied five of his last 10 holes. “It was a good day. Hit a couple close and then my putter showed up and made some putts of some pretty good length.”
Piercy, who teamed with Billy Horschel to the 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans for his fourth victory on the PGA Tour but hasn’t won on his own since the 2015 Barbasol Championship, recorded a 36-hole score of 9-under 135.
Koepka, playing for the first time since winning the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award, sank an eight-foot eagle putt on the last hole to cap his own 65.
“I feel like my game is in a good spot,” said Koepka, who captured the U.S. Open and PGA Championship this year. “I feel like the way I played today, if I can carry that momentum into Saturday and Sunday, it will be fun.
“My game is pretty simple. I guess you can call it like caveman golf: you see the ball, hit the ball and go find it again. You’re not going to see any emotion just because I’m so focused, but I’m enjoying it.”
First-round leader Chez Reavie had a 70 and is three shots back in solo third, while Alex Noren of Sweden carded a bogey-free 65 and is one more behind in a tie for fourth with Ian Poulter of England, who finished at 69.
Jamie Lovemark of Rancho Santa Fe and USC totaled 68 and is five behind in a tie for sixth with Pat Perez (68) of San Diego; Brian Harman (64); Ryan Armour (67), and Gary Woodland (67).
Fourth-ranked Justin Thomas, the defending champion, shot 70 and is tied for 22nd.
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