Justin Thomas takes CJ Cup lead with 63 as Brooks Koepka capitulates

Golf Thomas cards 'easy' 63 to take halfway lead in Korea

The seven-time PGA Tour champion, who claimed last year's title after carding an impressive 21 under, withdrew from the event after his second round, the Tour announced Friday.

The 26-year-old Texan has not won a tournament for two years but felt he was close to his majestic best Friday.

American Jordan Spieth (65) and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo (66) were tied for fourth, four strokes behind Thomas in the first tournament of the PGA Tour's three-event Asian swing.

"So it just was a very easy 63 if you can somehow say that, but hopefully we'll be able to keep some of that going for the weekend", he added.

Lee hit the island green with his second shot on the par-five 18th but he was about 60 feet from the cup and and had to navigate a ridge in the green - he made no mistake and fist-pumped as the putt dropped in.

Thomas birdied his first four holes and was 6-under after 10 holes. "That was one of the better putting rounds I can remember having".

"I rolled in a lot of putts today, and certainly don't want to have to rely on that over the weekend", Spieth said.

However, he fought back well with birdies at the 12th and 15th before his closing eagle.

More news: Tropical storm warnings issued from Louisiana to Florida as storm takes aim

Justin Thomas' second-round score to give him the lead at the CJ Cup.

Gary Woodland, the reigning U.S. Open champion, shot 71 and is in a tie for 33rd that includes Phil Mickelson, who wound up at 72, while top-ranked Brooks Koepka, the defending champion, struggled to a 75 and is tied for 51st.

The highlight of the day was when Phil Mickelson came within a whisker of an wonderful new chapter in his storied career when he was a fraction from a hole-in-one - on a par four.

The five-time major victor, who has graced the world's top 50 for more than 25 years, hit the pin at the 353-yard 14th hole with the ball finishing just inches from the cup for a brush-in eagle.

Beginning the day with a two-shot lead, Thomas bounced back from a bogey at the par-three second to hole a 20-footer from the fringe at the next and then birdie the ninth to reach the turn in 35. But a combination of both on a par four is virtually unheard of. "It bugged me since March maybe, but everything's fine now", Koepka said.

The only one in the history of the US PGA Tour was made by Andrew Magee on the 17th hole at Scottsdale in Phoenix, Arizona, in January 2001.

But last year's champion Danielle Kang of the US was in the mix at eight-under for the tournament as she tries to go 2-for-2 in the $2.1 million tournament, now in its second year. He was 13 strokes behind Thomas in the limited-field event with no cut.

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