POTOMAC (Maryland): South Africa’s Rory Sabbatini grabbed a two-shot lead but David Duval stole the show with a spectacular nine-under-par 62 in the second round of the US$4.5mil Kemper Open on Friday.
Sabbatini’s 66 put him eight under on 134, two ahead of the resurgent Duval, Notah Begay III, Tom Gillis and Sweden’s Niclas Fasth.
Hal Sutton, the 2004 US Ryder Cup captain, was back on 137 along with 2002 US PGA champion Rich Beem and Patrick Sheehan at a soggy TPC at Avenel.
Duval, who started on the 10th hole, did not record a bogey all day. He birdied the last five holes of his front nine to reach the turn in a six-under 29 and then had three more birdies coming home.
Since winning the British Open nearly two years ago, Duval has been in the doldrums.
In 11 strokeplay tournaments this year, the 31-year-old former world number one has missed nine cuts and has been no higher than a tie for 42nd.
He also managed just two top-10 finishes last season.
“I just played well today,” Duval told reporters. “I feel like I felt some of the fruits of my labours over the last many months.
“I kept it together, executed throughout the entire round, rather than have the lapses that I had in the past for several months, and that’s about all.
“I don’t feel like I played a whole lot better than I did yesterday, a little sharper. However, today I made a few putts that I didn’t make yesterday.”
Duval, who began the event with a three-over-par 74, has been hampered by injuries over the last two years. But nothing, he said, had dampened his enthusiasm for the game.
“So many obstacles have been thrown my way,” he said. “But it hasn’t hurt my love of the game.
“The lack of performance has certainly bothered me but bothered me because I expect a lot more for myself, not so much out here winning golf tournaments, but I expect a lot of myself when I play the game, because I know I’m good.”
Even though Sabbatini vaulted into a two-stroke lead, he was not entirely happy with his game.
“I played solidly,” the 27-year-old said. “I missed a couple of short birdie opportunities and made some pretty stupid bogeys out there but it’s going to happen.
“Overall I found that the course actually played very easy for me and I really haven’t had much difficulty out there.” – Reuters