Sung Kang, Tyrrell Hatton jump to top of leaderboard at Arnold Palmer Invitational

March 6, 2020

Sung Kang thought he was playing well. His caddie, Damon Green, thought something quite different.

“It’s funny, because I was hitting it really good before Riviera (three weeks ago), but I was a little too confident sometimes; I’m going at it too much. So Damon just tells me, ‘Oh, you suck. You can’t do it. Just hit it there.’ ” 

“And then the other problem was, I mean I had high expectation on him, so sometimes we’re right in between and then I listen to him and it’s just no good and I got mad and I couldn’t control it. So I just told him, ‘Hey, you suck too. Just get out of the way. I’ll just do my own thing.’ So that’s been working great.”

Following a second-place tie at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, Kang is back at the top of the leaderboard, shooting a 4-under 68 on Friday at Bay Hill to share the second-round lead with Tyrrell Hatton at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. One shot back is Danny Lee, and the group two shots back includes world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.

So maybe Kang doesn’t suck that much. The friendly banter has a bit to do with it. 

“A little bit of negative stuff that definitely helps in my game,” he said. 

Here’s everything you missed from Friday’s action in Orlando, Fla.

Sung Kang and Tyrrell Hatton lead

Green was giving the bird midway through the round.

As Kang’s ball trickled in on the left side of the cup on the par-5 12th, the caddie flapped both arms up and down before lifting his right leg. A bird dance for a birdie. Kang kept soaring after the 12th, adding birdies on the 13th, 16th and 18th.

Hatton is plenty loose, too, tweeting after his first-round 68 a photo and video of him in a swimming pool. Then following his 69 on Friday, he talked with reporters about his favorite kinds of wine.

“Being out here in the States more, the Napa Cab Sauv, that was dreamy,” said the Englishman, laughing.

Who’s lurking?

Lee finished with a flurry, making birdies on three of his last four holes for a 5-under 67, the day’s lowest round.

McIlroy struggled a bit after starting the day one shot off the lead, making double-bogey on the par-4 eighth en route to a 1-over 73. Sungjae Im, the winner last week at the Honda Classic, and Harris English join McIlroy at two strokes behind the leaders.

The group of six at three strokes back includes Patrick Reed.

What happened with some of the other big names?

Brooks Koepka shot his fifth straight round in the 70s, shooting a 1-over 73 to sit 1-over for the tournament, eight strokes behind the leaders.

Among those missing the cut were Phil Mickelson, who followed his firsr-round 77 with a 72, and Tommy Fleetwood, who had made a PGA Tour-best 29 straight cuts.

Jason Day, meanwhile, withdrew from the tournament for a second straight year with a back injury.

What happened with first-round leader Matt Every?  

Oh boy. 

Six days after shooting an 85 during the second round of the Honda Classic, Matt Every, a two-time winner at the Arnold Palmer, fired a 65 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead. 

Then he shot an 83 on Friday, making double bogeys on four, 10, 11 and 18 and missing the cut.

Oh boy. 

What about Tiger?

Tiger Woods’ pursuit of the PGA Tour’s all-time wins record will have to wait at least two more weeks, as he is taking off this week and next week’s Players Championship.

How can I watch Round 3?

You can watch Saturday’s action on Golf Channel from 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel, and from 2:30-6 on NBC.

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