Ryder Cup duo well placed heading into the weekend of CJ Cup
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 20/10/18 7:56pm
Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter and Alex Noren remained in contention at the CJ Cup as Scott Piercy claimed the halfway lead ahead of Brooks Koepka on Jeju Island.
Piercy's bogey-free 65 swept him to nine under par and top of the leaderboard after 36 holes of the lucrative $9.5m tournament, while Koepka eagled the final hole to match Piercy's seven-under score for the second round.
Poulter and Noren are four strokes off the pace heading into the weekend, while Paul Casey provided some warmth on another chilly day in South Korea as he made a superb hole-in-one, only to play the rest of his round in one over.
But there were no such problems for Piercy, who has not won a standard solo event on the PGA Tour since 2015, as he followed two early birdies with four in six holes around the turn before adding another at the ninth - his last - to complete a rare blemish-free round at the Nine Bridges layout.
Koepka raced out of the blocks with birdies at the first two holes and added two more before losing a ball off the tee at the long ninth, although the three-time major champion did well to limit the damage to a bogey six.
The world No 3 got back on track with birdies at 12 and 14, and he closed to within one of Piercy with a brilliant eagle at the last that boosted Koepka's hopes of the win he needs to take him to the top of the world rankings.
Chez Reavie held the outright lead for much of the second day until back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16 brought him back to the pack, although he did claw one shot back at the 18th to return a 70 which kept him one ahead of Poulter and Noren.
Poulter recovered well from bogeys at two of the first three holes, starting his comeback with a birdie at the sixth which was to be one of five on the day for the veteran Englishman.
His fifth arrived at the 18th and capped a solid 69 that lifted him to five under alongside Noren, whose card for his flawless 65 was almost identical to Piercy's.
Casey was struggling to get anything going as he began his round with six pars, but he lit up the tournament at the 176-yard seventh as his perfect tee-shot landed 20 feet short of the flag and followed the ideal path to the bottom of the cup.
But Casey then bogeyed nine and 10 and, although he hauled one back at the long 12th, he blotted his card with further bogeys at the 13th and 15th in a disappointing 73 which saw him slip back to level par overall.
It was also a bad day for former Masters champion Danny Willett, who was one off the lead overnight before an ugly 77, including five bogeys and one double-bogey, dropped him to two over par and outside the top 50 in the 78-player field.