Pagunsan just 8 shots off with 71 in WGC-Cadillac
DORAL, Florida—Juvic Pagunsan continued to show superb form against the world’s best golfers, shooting a 1-under-par 71 Friday to join a three-way tie for 21st place at the halfway stage of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
After opening his campaign with a 69 at the TPC Blue Monster in Doral, which left him in a share of fifth place, the reigning Asian Tour gunned down four birdies against three bogeys in his nines of 35-36 for a 4-under 140 total, just eight strokes behind new leader Bubba Watson, who shot a 62 for 132.
Pagunsan was tied with Filipino-Australian Jason Day (73-67) and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (69-71). He will play with Day, the 2011 Masters runnerup, in the third round Saturday.
The shotmaker from Bacolod, who started the year with a wire-to-wire victory in the The Country Club Invitational late in January, opened his round with a three-putt par after reaching the par-5 first hole with his second shot.
He dumped his tee shot into the water on the par-3 fourth hole but gunned down a 10-footer to save his bogey which he later nullified with a birdie on No. 7.
Pagunsan finally went 1-under with a birdie on No. 10 but gave up the stroke after missing the par-3 13th green. He responded with a birdie on the next hole and went 2-under with a five-foot birdie on the 17th before ending up with a bogey following a watery tee shot on the finishing hole.
Korea’s YE Yang carded a 67 to move up to a 15th-place tie with five others that included Tiger Woods (72-67) at 139.
He was the only Asian ahead of Pagunsan, who was playing a lot better than in his first major stint in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic last month where he missed the halfway cut with rounds of 71-74.
KJ Choi also fired a 67 to move to equal 24th place. Jbe Kruger of South Africa, currently leading the Asian Tour Order of Merit, returned a 71 to lie in 34th place.
Going into the last two rounds of the $8.5-million event serving as the second leg of the 2012 World Golf Championship series, Pagunsan stood two shots ahead of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy (73-69—142) and three in front of world No. 2 Lee Westwood (76-67) and American star Phil Mickelson (72-71).
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