Sung Kang produced one of the finest rounds of his career to take the lead at the Houston Open after the second day of the competition, tying the course record in the process.
The 29-year-old performed well on the opening round, recording a seven-under round of 65.
The South Korean had struggled for consistency on the PGA Tour this season, but displayed no sign of giving up his advantage at the top of the leaderboard, growing stronger as he progressed round the course.
Sung holds a dominant lead over his nearest rivals and could be on the verge of securing his first win on the PGA Tour. However, there is a long way to and he will need to maintain his composure until the bitter end of the tournament.
We’ll now take a closer look at his impressive round and how it affected the odds for the competition for the final two days.
The South Korean entered the day on seven-under, one shot off the pace of leader Rickie Fowler, but he quickly drew level with the American after beginning on the back nine.
He birdied the 11th hole with a calm putt before remaining steady on the next three. Sung found his rhythm to take the outright lead with two birdies in the space of three holes on the 15th and 17th to enter the front nine with momentum.
The 29-year-old continued to be dynamite with putter in hand as he notched back-to-back birdies on the first and second before moving to six-under for the day with another strike at the fourth.
Sung was in complete rhythm towards the end of the round, with a fine up-and-down for birdie on the par-three seventh. However, he saved his best for the eighth after reaching the green in two before sending a 30ft putt down the hole for eagle to take him to nine-under for his round.
The South Korean has a dominant six-stroke lead over the rest of the field, and as a result is backed favourably to win the competition.
The best odds for his victory come with BetFred at 6/42.50+1501.501.50-0.67 and on this level of form – he should be able to close the win out and seal a place at The Masters.
The story of Fowler’s career has been summed up at this tournament thus far. He was excellent on the first day, carding an eight-under round of 64, looking in prime position to win the competition.
However, the 28-year-old was unable to capitalise on his impressive outing on Thursday and is now seven strokes off the pace of Sung at the top of the leaderboard, needing something special to close the gap to the South Korean.
Starting on the front nine – the American began the day with two birdies on the second and sixth to keep pace with Sung, only for a bogey on the seventh to knock him back.
Fowler regained his composure quickly with a birdie on the eighth to take him back on to 10-under for the tournament.
Back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11 had him on the right track for a strong finish, but a bogey knocked the 28-year-old off his rhythm, despite getting the shot back at the next role.
The worst was yet to come as he ruined his round with a double bogey at the 15th before dropping another stroke on the following hole.
He ended the day one-under for his round, but Fowler needs an emphatic response to get back in with a shout, with Betfair offering odds of 28/56.60+5605.605.60-0.18 for him to stage a comeback and win the tournament.
Swafford has been the model of consistency thus far at the Houston Open, recording back-to-back rounds of 67 to leave him six shots off the pace.
The 29-year-old has been in solid form on the tour this year, notching his first victory at the CareerBuilder Challenge, while he finished in tied-10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
He has been hit and miss at times, failing to make the cut at three-straight competitions, but should Swafford remain on the right track he could compete for the crown in the final two days.
The American began on the front nine and carded three birdies at the fourth, sixth and eighth to put him on course for a strong challenge for the rest of his round.
However, after birdieing the 10th, Swafford made a rare mistake to bogey the following hole. He managed to get back on track with birdies at the 13th and 15th, ensuring that he finished the round five-under, but there is plenty of work ahead of him.
The 29-year-old has decent odds of 11/112.00+110011.0011.00-0.09 to win the competition with Unibet, which is an excellent price given his consistency so far in Houston.
Henley has also been on the level at the tournament in the opening two rounds, also with back-to-back scores of 67, matching the success of his compatriot.
The 27-year-old does have two previous wins on the PGA Tour, although the last of those came in the 2014 at the Honda Classic.
Since then he has pulled himself into contention, including a fourth and fifth-place finish at the tournament in 2015 and last year, but has never sealed the deal.
Henley produced a steady opening nine holes on his second round, notching only one birdie which came on the first hole of the day, but he was to explode into the life after the turn.
The American notched three birdies out of the first four holes on the back nine, while he followed that effort up with back-to-back strikes on the 15th and 16th.
His only flaw came on the final hole with a bogey, leaving Henley six strokes off the pace of Sung. The 27-year-old’s odds of 6/17.00+6006.006.00-0.17 to win Betway present an intriguing option for punters to take.
The American put himself into contention for the crown with a five-under round of 67, although he remains eight shots off the pace of Sung at the top of the leaderboard.
Blair has not registered a win on the PGA Tour in his career, with a best of a third-finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii last year, but he has played some impressive golf in Houston.
The 26-year-old began the day on the back nine and began his round with a birdie on his first hole, while he quickly built momentum with another on the third.
He notched a fine up-and-down on the par-five 15th to take him back on to the front nine with momentum, although he failed to capitalise with a series of pars.
However, Blair ended on a high note, ending his day with back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth, giving him a chance at his first win. At odds of 80/181.00+800080.0080.00-0.01 with Bet365, he’s certainly worth a punt just for the sheer value.
Sung Kang to win Houston Open
Rickie Fowler to win Houston Open
Hudson Stafford to win Houston Open
Russell Henley to win Houston Open
Zac Blair to win Houston Open
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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