Si Woo Kim leads Texas Open after near-miss on second ace

Graeme McDowell stalls after 72 while Pádraig Harrington misses final-round cut

Si Woo Kim of South Korea drives  from the second tee during the third round of the  Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio Oaks Course  in San Antonio, Texas. Photograph:  Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Si Woo Kim of South Korea drives from the second tee during the third round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio Oaks Course in San Antonio, Texas. Photograph: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

 

South Korean Si Woo Kim almost aced the same hole for the second day running en route to a one-stroke lead over Canadian Corey Conners in the third round of the Texas Open on Saturday.

A day after holing a nine-iron from 167 yards at the par-three 16th on Friday, Kim took dead aim with a seven-iron at the same hole, which measured 190 yards on Saturday.

His ball landed a couple of yards in front of the cup and nearly went in on the second bounce before settling four feet away.

Kim threw his club into the air and placed his hands on his head upon narrowly failing to pull off what would have been an astronomically unlikely feat.

“I saw that first bounce and then right at it. I thought going in for sure this time,” Kim told Golf Channel. “Just missed it.”

He also missed the birdie putt, but made amends by sinking a birdie from similar distance at the last for a three-under-par 69 at TPC San Antonio.

Conners shot 66 to jump into second place on 14 under while American Charley Hoffman carded 64, the best round of the day, to vault within two shots of the lead on an afternoon that started rainy before clearing up by the back nine.

Graeme McDowell’s challenge stalled in the third round, a level-par 72 leaving him on six under, while Pádraig Harrington dropped out of the tournament after a one-over 73 saw him move back to level par and fall victim to the third-round cut, which takes place if more than 78 golfers survive the original cut.

Kim, seeking to lead wire-to-wire, has two victories on the PGA Tour, notably the 2017 Players Championship. The 23-year-old is not the most consistent performer, but has shown he can beat anyone when on his game.

Conners has yet to win at the highest level, and is so low on the tour’s pecking order that he had to run the gauntlet of a Monday qualifier – competing for four spots – just to get into the Texas Open.

Victory on Sunday would earn him the last spot in next week’s Masters.

“I’ve managed my game really well,” Conners said.

“I’ve struck the ball really solidly and I was able to roll in a few putts today. Gave myself a ton of chances, hit a lot of quality iron shots set up by some good tee balls.”

Hoffman has four PGA Tour wins, including the 2016 Texas Open.

His 64 included seven birdies, along with an eagle at the par-five 18th, where he struck a superb three-wood from 290 yards that had an eye on the pin the entire way.

“Flushed it,” said the laid-back Californian. “It landed way softer than I anticipated. Very lucky to leave myself an uphill 10-footer.”

LEADERBOARD
(USA unless stated, par 72):

201 Si Woo Kim (Kor) 66 66 69

202 Corey Conners (Can) 69 67 66

203 Charley Hoffman (USA) 71 68 64

205 Scott Brown (USA) 71 67 67, Kyoung-hoon Lee (Kor) 69 67 69, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 67 71 67

206 Adam Schenk (USA) 70 66 70, Danny Lee (Nzl) 68 72 66

207 Brian Stuard (USA) 67 70 70, Matt Kuchar (USA) 69 71 67, Ryan Moore (USA) 68 70 69

208 Jason Kokrak (USA) 70 73 65, Hank Lebioda (USA) 68 70 70, Lucas Glover (USA) 72 70 66, Jimmy Walker (USA) 70 69 69

209 Peter Malnati (USA) 71 68 70, Brendan Steele (USA) 70 72 67, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 69 68 72, Scottie Scheffler (am) (USA) 71 68 70, Harold Varner III (USA) 70 66 73, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez (Mex) 71 70 68, Rickie Fowler (USA) 68 68 73, Jordan Spieth (USA) 68 68 73

210 Andrew Putnam (USA) 72 70 68, Scott Stallings (USA) 68 69 73, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 69 68 73, Max Homa (USA) 68 74 68, Ollie Schniederjans (USA) 70 71 69, Martin Laird (Sco) 74 68 68, Graeme McDowell (N Irl) 69 69 72, Beau Hossler (USA) 69 70 71, Kevin Streelman (USA) 72 69 69, Fabian Gomez (Arg) 73 67 70, Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 71 70 69, Joel Dahmen (USA) 70 73 67, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 67 72 71, Jim Furyk (USA) 70 72 68, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 70 71 69, Sungjae Im (Kor) 73 69 68

211 Jim Knous (USA) 70 67 74, Matt Jones (Aus) 69 68 74, Joost Luiten (Ned) 72 69 70, Zack Fischer (USA) 71 69 71, Cameron Tringale (USA) 69 74 68, Jonas Blixt (Swe) 72 70 69

212 Richy Werenski (USA) 72 71 69, Wyndham Clark (USA) 69 73 70, Sam Ryder (USA) 73 66 73, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 71 72 69, Nick Taylor (Can) 69 72 71, Josh Teater (USA) 69 68 75

213 Kristoffer Ventura (Nor) 71 72 70, Tony Finau (USA) 72 71 70, Haotong Li (Chn) 70 70 73, Russell Henley (USA) 71 72 70, Adam Svensson (Can) 73 69 71, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 72 71 70

214 Kyle Stanley (USA) 70 70 74, Sung Kang (Kor) 70 73 71, Roberto Diaz (Mex) 68 71 75, Ernie Els (Rsa) 71 69 74, Sam Burns (USA) 72 69 73, Sam Saunders (USA) 72 71 71, Kyung Ju Choi (Kor) 73 69 72, Kyle Jones (USA) 76 67 71

215 JT Poston (USA) 67 74 74, Morgan Hoffmann (USA) 68 75 72, Ryan Armour (USA) 69 71 75, Martin Trainer (USA) 73 70 72, Robert Streb (USA) 72 70 73

MISSED THIRD ROUND CUT

216 Hunter Mahan (USA) 70 71 75, JB Holmes (USA) 69 73 74, Vaughn Taylor (USA) 70 73 73, Chip McDaniel (USA) 74 69 73, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 72 71 73

217 Trey Mullinax (USA) 71 72 74

219 Ted Potter Jr (USA) 68 73 78, Brian Gay (USA) 71 72 76, Anders Albertson (USA) 73 70 76

222 Curtis Luck (Aus) 73 68 81

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