Luke List leads CJ Cup after Justin Thomas struggles on day two
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 21/10/17 5:36pm
Luke List emerged as the surprise halfway leader at the CJ Cup in South Korea as Justin Thomas slipped up in the second round.
List birdied his final two holes to cap a flawless 67 which lifted him one shot ahead of Lucas Glover on nine under, but overnight-leader Thomas failed to find the form he showed in his opening 63 and was 11 strokes worse on day two as blustery conditions caused a significant rise in the overall scoring.
After opening with a solid 68, List made a confident start to his second round with a birdie at 10, and he followed a steady run of pars with another gain at the long 18th before also taking advantage of the par-five third.
The 32-year-old, chasing his maiden PGA Tour victory, rounded off an excellent day with back-to-back birdies at eight and nine to snatch the outright lead from Scott Brown and Glover, who has started the new season in fine touch.
The 2009 US Open champion, who tied for seventh at last week's CIMB Classic, continued his encouraging form as he picked up shots at two of the last three holes to return a seven-birdie 67, while Brown recovered from an outward 38 with five birdies on the back nine to salvage a battling 70.
Thomas was in a class of his own on Thursday and threatened to post his second 59 of the year, but he showed vulnerability on the second day and littered his card with three bogeys as he just managed to break 40 for the front nine.
The PGA champion improved after the turn and birdied 10, 14 and 15 before making a mess of the last, coming close to putting a bunker escape in the water and then pitching well past the flag as he signed for a scrappy six and a round of 74.
Thomas shares fourth on seven under with Cameron Smith (68), whose fellow Australian Marc Leishman is a further shot off the pace alongside Patrick Reed, Chez Reavie and Whee Kim.
Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters carded six birdies in a 68 that lifted him to five under, but Xander Schauffele crashed out of contention after a spectacular collapse.
The Tour Championship winner and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year was in the mix on four under after an early birdie at the 13th, his fourth, but he then bogeyed three of the next four holes before losing his focus completely on the front nine.
Schauffele ran up triple-bogey eights at both the par-fives on the outward stretch and dropped further shots at the firsand fourth as he signed for a 10-over 82 which left him among the also-rans on seven over par.