Korean Bae surges one ahead at Riviera
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - South Korea's Bae Sang-moon learned the value of patience at Riviera Country Club last year and used it to his advantage on Friday as he seized an early one-shot lead at the Northern Trust Open.
On another sunny day with barely a breath of wind in the Santa Monica Canyon, Bae fired a flawless five-under-par 66 to take control in the second round of the PGA Tour event.
The 27-year-old from Daegu, who tied for eighth on his debut at the tournament last year, carefully plotted his way around a course that offers a variety of options for shot selection to post a nine-under total of 133.
Australian Aaron Baddeley, champion here in 2011, spectacularly birdied the last four holes for a 65 to finish at eight under, applying gloss on a superb putting display as he drained a 25-footer at the par-four 18th.
Charlie Beljan, beaten by fellow American John Merrick in a playoff for last year's title, was alone at seven under after carding a 68 with compatriot Brian Harman (69) a further stroke back.
Bae, who clinched his maiden PGA Tour victory at last year's Byron Nelson Championship, liked the look of Riviera the very first time he saw the classic layout and has clearly enjoyed himself so far this week.
"I had really, really solid two rounds," the Korean told reporters after covering the back nine in three-under 33. "I love this course. Bit hilly and greens (are) small, so (you) need really good driver and irons into the holes.
"Not really easy, this course is very tricky. I always aim to focus on my game and just (stay) patient." Continued...