Korean Bae takes sole command 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 a one-shot lead at the Northern Trust Open.
On another picture-perfect day of unbroken sunshine 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, birdied the last four holes for a 65 to finish at eight-under, level with American Robert Garrigus (67) who played in tricky afternoon conditions as the firming greens became bumpy.
Charlie Beljan, beaten by fellow American John Merrick in a playoff for last year's title, was alone at seven-under after a 68 with first-round leader Dustin Johnson (70) among a group of four players a further stroke back.
Play was suspended for the day due to darkness at 8:50 p.m. ET with six players yet to complete the second round. Among those, the closest to the lead was American Harold Varner III, at one-under after 16 holes.
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. Continued...