Bangkok Post

Mitchell shines again at Summit to claim CJ Cup lead


>>LAS VEGAS: Keith Mitchell fired an eagle and seven birdies on Friday in an eight-under-par 64 to take an early five-shot lead in the second round of the CJ Cup.

The American, searching for a second US PGA Tour title to go with the Honda Classic trophy he lifted in 2019, followed up a first-round 62 with another strong effort at the Summit Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, hosting the tournament moved from South Korea because of the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Mitchell hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation in a round featuring a 60-foot eagle putt at the par-five third.

His 18-under par total of 126 gave him a five shot lead over a quartet of players that featured three-time major-winner Jordan Spieth, Australian Adam Scott, American Harry Higgs and South Korean Kim Seong-Hyeon.

Spieth had an eagle and eight birdies along with three bogeys in his seven-under 65. Higgs carded a 67 and Kim nabbed seven birdies and an eagle at the par-five 18th in a nine-under-par 63.

The South Korean, winner of the Japan PGA Championsh­ip in July, is in search of a first US PGA Tour title.

Scott grabbed his share of second with a 63 that included eagles at both par-fives on the back nine. At the 18th, his shot out of a fairway bunker left him a five-foot eagle putt.

“You know, you can’t expect a finish like that, but I’m going to take it,” Scott said. “I hit a lot of shots close and that made light work with the putter.

“Kind of put myself in contention. I’m a long way back still, but 36 holes to go, I like where I’m at, moving in the right direction.”

It was a further stroke back to American Rickie Fowler and England’s Tyrrell Hatton on 132, Fowler posting a 66 and Hatton signing for a 65.

Mitchell said he’d felt the pressure of trying to add a second title to his resume — something he almost did at the Wells Fargo Championsh­ip at Quail Hollow in May.

He held a two-shot lead going into the final round but finished tied for third behind winner Rory McIlroy — who said his closeup view of Mitchell’s game convinced him the American was the real deal.

Last season Mitchell made 16 cuts, with three top-five finishes, and missed 12.

“It’s like a roller coaster, and my game is like that,” he said. “This year, I kind of took a hard look at my game.

“I just wanted to take this year and just try to be as consistent as possible, because I felt like feast or famine was kind of my game the last four years and I wanted to be a little bit more consistent, a little bit more patient.”

 ?? ?? IN FULL COMMAND: Keith Mitchell tees off on the 17th during the second round.
IN FULL COMMAND: Keith Mitchell tees off on the 17th during the second round.

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