Hometown hero Berger takes three-stroke lead at Honda Classic

By Sports Desk February 25, 2022

Hometown hero Daniel Berger opened up a three-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the Honda Classic in Florida after carding six birdies on Friday.

Berger, who is ranked 20th in the world, backed up his opening day five-under 65 with a repeat score, highlighted by a 38-foot birdie putt on the par-three seventh hole, to be 10-under at Palm Beach Gardens.

The Florida native leads by three shots from Chris Kirk and first day leader Kurt Kitayama, the latter carding a one-under-69 to slip from the summit.

“Just one of those days when I kept the momentum going,” Berger told reporters. “I hit a lot of quality shots, even though they don't look like they're five feet from the hole, or 10 feet from the hole.

“I know that they're so difficult, that to hit it to 20 feet is a good shot. And that's the challenge for this golf course is the pins are tucked, the greens are firm, wind's up, so you have to be really on point with where you're going to miss.”

Mark Hubbard surged up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth alongside Canadian Adam Svensson with the pair carding rounds of 64 and 65 respectively to be six-under overall.

Pre-tournament favourite Louis Ousthuizen produced a strong round to avoid the cut, after his opening day five-over-75.

The South African is even after two rounds, behind Berger by 10 strokes, but managed six birdies on his back nine to stay in contention after a double bogey on the 11th hole seemed to condemn him.

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka is among a large group alongside Oosthuizen that are even after two rounds with the American carding a two-over-72.

Padraig Harrington, Brian Harman, Charl Schwartzel and last week's Genesis Invitational winner Joaquin Niemann were among those to miss the cut.

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    McIlroy came within touching distance of ending that decade-long wait on Sunday but fell short in disappointing circumstances as Bryson DeChambeau claimed the US Open title by a shot in North Carolina.

    The 35-year-old McIlroy managed to bogey three of his final four holes in the last round at Pinehurst's No.2 course, including a woeful miss from a short putting distance on the 18th.

    DeChambeau was left to save par with an impressive up-and-down from the near-side bunker, leaving McIlroy to rue another missed opportunity on the major stage.

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