Kang revival at Johnnie Walker
Anthony Kang (AFP Images)
Perth - A week after being in tears over his game, Korean-born American Anthony Kang was savouring the best golf of his life on Friday as the joint leader at the Johnnie Walker Classic.
After the second round at The Vines Resort here Friday, Kang was level with Irishman Damien McGrane at 10-under 134.
Kang has so far shot two rounds of 67, while McGrane birdied the 18th for a second round 68 to join him atop the leaderboard.
The pair were one stroke ahead of Spain's Ignacio Garrido, Japan's Hiroyuki Fujita and New Zealand amateur Danny Lee.
First round leader Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands was one of nine players tied at eight-under after shooting an even-par 72 in the second round.
Rising US star Anthony Kim, the world number 11, was poised to challenge over the weekend after shooting consecutive 68s to join Derksen just two strokes back.
Scotsman Colin Montgomerie and Englishman Ian Poulter were one shot further behind at seven-under.
But the tournament's two biggest drawcards, Australian veteran Greg Norman and world number nine Camilo Villegas, were out of the tournament after missing the cut.
Norman started the day three over, but successive birdies on the front nine had him back to even, before he imploded on the par-five 10th, with an ugly double bogey. He finished at 71, missing the cut by five strokes.
"I'll leave here and go practise my putting," Norman said.
Kang, 36, walked off the course after the first round at the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur last week a shattered man, having shot a 74 after a disastrous back nine.
Without a win since 2001, he said he feared for his career as he wept in his hotel room that night, but then produced a stunning form reversal over the next three days to shoot 66, 64 and 67 to claim the title.
He has brought that resurgent form to Perth and conceded that the thought of successive tournament wins was on his mind.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about winning two in a row," he admitted.
"But we've got a pretty stellar field and world-class players and for me to do that would be against the odds -- it would be pretty improbable."
The Arizona-based father of two sunk six birdies on Friday, with just one bogey, for his fifth successive round under 68.
"I think after the first round in Malaysia I finished four bogeys in a row the last five holes or whatever it was, and went back to the hotel and cried like a little girl," he said.
"I just kept telling myself 'just stay in it', you never know what's going to happen in the future.
"It's been a nice past five rounds so far -- I'm having the time of my life right now."
The 37-year-old McGrane, who won his first tournament at the China Open last year, surged late with four birdies in his final seven holes.
After a first-round 64, Derksen started brilliantly, with an eagle on the first hole to go to 10 under, but then couldn't maintain the momentum and handed the lead to Kang when he bogeyed the eighth.
He rejoined Kang with a birdie at his ninth hole, but then dropped two more shots late in the day.
After a first round 66, Englishman Lee Westwood shot a 73 to be five under, but a nine on the par-four third cost him dearly.
South African David Frost and Englishman Graeme Storm both shot 64s to surge into contention.
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