Honda Classic 2019: Sungjae Im, Keith Mitchell Tied for Lead After Round 2

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2019

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA - MARCH 01:  Sungjae Im of Korea plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 01, 2019 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Several surprising names are at or near the top of the leaderboard at the Honda Classic through two rounds, as Sungjae Im and Keith Mitchell pace the field at six-under.

Jhonattan Vegas entered Friday with a two-stroke lead at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, but while he faltered and carded a three-over 73, Im and Mitchell made their move. Im shot a six-under 64, which was tied for the best round of the day, and Mitchell finished with a four-under 66.

Here is a look at the leaderboard after two rounds, courtesy of PGATour.com:

T1. Sungjae Im: -6 (64)

T1. Keith Mitchell: -6 (66)

3. Lucas Glover: -5 (69)

T4. Freddie Jacobson: -4 (67)

T4. Adam Svensson: -4 (64)

T4. Kyoung-Hoon Lee: -4 (69)

T4. Sung Kang: -4 (68)

T4. Danny Lee: -4 (67)

T4. Ryan Armour: -4 (68)

T4. Brooks Koepka: -4 (69)

T4. Wyndham Clark: -4 (67)

T4. Adam Schenk: -4 (69)

  

Im, who was the 2018 Web.com Tour Player of the Year, birdied three of his first four holes Friday and finished with seven birdies to go along with just one bogey on the day:

He won twice on the Web.com Tour last season and is in search of his first career PGA Tour win. Mitchell is also looking to break through with his first PGA Tour win after finishing second in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship last year.

Behind Im and Mitchell, as well as third-place Lucas Glover, who is one shot behind the leaders, there is a logjam with nine golfers tied for fourth at four-under.

Among them is Canadian Adam Svensson, who matched Im with the best round of the day at six-under 64. It was a nice bounce-back effort from Svensson, as he carded a two-under 72 in the first round and was in danger of missing the cut if not for a strong showing.

Many of those tied in fourth are lesser-known names except for Brooks Koepka, who is just two back of the leaders after shooting a one-under 69 in the second round. Koepka had an up-and-down day with three birdies and one double-bogey, but he did manage to play No. 1 to near perfection:

The 28-year-old American won both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship last year after winning the U.S. Open in 2017, and he is in good position to score his first win of 2019.

Another big name in the mix is Sergio Garcia, who is just three back at three-under. Garcia had been in an ideal spot before bogeying three of his final four holes in the second round to finish with an even-par 70.

Garcia was feeling it on his front nine, though, with three birdies in a four-hole stretch:

Overall, Garcia had four birdies and four bogeys during what was an up-and-down day. Despite struggling at times, the 39-year-old Spaniard will likely be one of the top players to watch over the final two rounds.

Vegas looked excellent in the first round and led the field by two strokes, but he looked like a different golfer Friday. The three-time PGA Tour winner had three birdies on the day, but he also carded two bogeys and two double-bogeys.

One of the doubles came on the par-four ninth when he overshot the green and ended up in the bunker on a wayward chip:

Even though his play dropped off significantly, Vegas is still tied with Garcia and is just three strokes off the pace.

Other possible contenders to watch further down the leaderboard include one-time Masters and British Open champion Zach Johnson at two-under, and Rickie Fowler and Ernie Els at one-under. All three players scuffled Friday, as both Johnson and Fowler shot a two-over 72, and Els shot a three-over 73.

Defending Honda Classic champion Justin Thomas barely qualified for the weekend, as his two-over score just beat the three-over cut line.

Thomas had a tough day with a four-over 74, but he did eagle the par-five third with arguably the shot of the day:

Other than that eagle, Thomas had two birdies, three bogeys, a double-bogey and a triple-bogey. Unless he finds some consistency quickly, a repeat as winner of the Honda Classic is unlikely.

While Thomas will still get to play Saturday and Sunday, a few notable players missed the cut, including Jimmy Walker, Hunter Mahan and 2016 Honda Classic winner Adam Scott.

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