HUMBLE, Texas – Sung Kang fired off a second round 63 to take a commanding six-stroke lead during at the Shell Houston Open. Kang was tied with Rickie Fowler entering the 18th hole during the first round before he carded an unfortunate bogey.
Kang is unknown to most fans, and that’s because he is currently ranked outside of the top 200 players in the world. In his last 15 starts, Kang finished: T49, MC, T52, T22, MC, T12, MC, MC, MC, T33, MC, MC, T21, MC, MC.
The 29-year-old from South Korea turned professional in 2007 and played the 2011 and 2012 seasons on the PGA Tour finishing as high as third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011, but after missing the cut in 22 of the 30 events he entered, he was relegated to the Web.com Tour.
In 2016, Kang was back on the PGA Tour, but has not finished higher than T8 and has missed 21 cuts in the last 43 events he’s entered.
To say he’s playing really well this week would be a disservice. Kang has made 300-feet of putts through the first 36 holes with 197 of those coming during the second round. The South Korean has gained 6.7 strokes putting, which is ridiculous. In comparison, first round leader Rickie Fowler gained only 0.4 strokes putting.
Kang changed his putter before the Shell at the request of his friend who works for TaylorMade.
“Yeah. One of my buddies, Sean “Moline.” He just gave me — last couple months he says, ‘You go to use this putter, this putter is going to work really good. If you want to succeed, you use that.’
“I’ll give it a try.’ That’s what I told him last week. And this Monday he gave me the putter and rolled it. It was rolling pretty good actually starting on line a little bit better. I think that’s why I’m having more confidence, starting more on line. I normally read the greens pretty good now. I can trust the line and just put the speed on, and it just goes in.”
With a six-stroke lead over Hudson Swafford and Russell Henley, both in the clubhouse, and a seven-stroke lead over Rickie Fowler, Kang is on pace to collect his first PGA Tour win and earn a trip to Augusta.
Jordan Spieth won’t be around this weekend after missing the cut at two-over (69-77). He’s joined by Adam Scott (68-77), Patrick Reed (77-69), J.B. Holmes (73-74), Smylie Kaufman (76-73), Henrik Stenson (74-75), Matt Kuchar (73-77), and Lee Westwood (77-74).
Phil Mickelson is currently one-over during his second round and needs to get to one-under to have a chance to see the weekend.