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Kang fires 61 to take lead at Byron Nelson

Reuters

Sung Kang watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the Byron Nelson tournament on Friday in Dallas.

The Associated Press DALLAS (AP) — Sung Kang and his caddie did some calculations on the driving range before the second round of the Byron Nelson on an unseasonably cool day with some breezy conditions.

“The biggest thing was we needed to figure how shorter the ball is going to fly,” Sung said. “So we just trusted the number ... just hit it, and then worked out good.”

Kang was pretty much right on, matching the Trinity Forest course record with a 10-under 61 on Friday to take the lead at 16 under. He led by four strokes over playing partner Matt Every, who had his second consecutive round of 65, and Tyler Duncan (66).

Brooks Koepka, the world’s No. 3-ranked player who goes to next week’s PGA Championship as defending champion, was fourth at 11 under after a 66. He overcame two early bogeys with six birdies in an 11-hole stretch that included four in a row late.

“Solid round, just trying to keep pace,” Koepka said. “I would like to have been in the lead. But I mean, hey, 61 today was pretty darn impressive.”

Koepka was a stroke ahead of Rory Sabbatini, who had a bogey-free 65.

With temperatures in the low 10s C, Kang opened with a 9-foot birdie on the par-5 No. 1 hole. His approach to within a foot of the cup at the 311-yard No. 5 set up a string of six birdies in a row.

“I don’t know what the guys are talking about. Perfect and awesome and nice conditions for the course,” Kang said jokingly after getting a post-round fist pump from Jordan Spieth, a member at Trinity Forest who shot 67 to get to 7 under.

Kang had three more birdies in four holes on the back nine. His only par in that stretch was at the 441-yard par-4 15th — where the 31-year-old South Korean who lives in North Texas had his putter raised in the air in anticipation of another birdie. The 21-foot chance instead lipped the cup.

“My 67 doesn’t look so good,” the beanie-wearing Spieth said, comparing his to Kang’s score. “But going out today, if you had offered me 4 under, I would have taken it.”

First-round leader Denny McCarthy followed his opening 63 with a 77.

Spieth again got off to a solid start before making his turn off a double bogey — at No. 9 during his opening 68 and at the 494-yard 18th on Friday, when he had an approach shot roll back down a swale toward him. He then birdied No. 1, and had three more birdies the last five holes.

“It was nice to bounce back,” said Spieth, without a top-20 finish this season and without a win since the 2017 British Open. “That’s nice as you go into a weekend. Good momentum.”

Tony Romo, the CBS NFL analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and also a Trinity Forest member, was 8 over after a 74. He missed the cut, like he did in two other PGA Tour starts in the Dominican Republic, and tied for 148th in the event that began with 156 players.

Romo, the only amateur in the Nelson, played on a sponsor exemption. He plans to compete in a U.S. Open local qualifying tournament next week.

After an opening 76 with a chip-in eagle, Romo had three birdies Friday that were countered by four bogeys and a double bogey.Speech

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