KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Keegan Bradley is playing so well at the CIMB Classic that not even the fact his beloved Boston Red Sox are in the World Series can distract him.
Teeing off on Friday in Malaysia while the Red Sox were playing the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series in Boston, Bradley sank seven birdies — including five in a six-hole stretch on his back nine — to shoot a 6-under-par 66 and open up a four-stroke lead over Ryan Moore heading into the weekend.
Bradley is at 13-under 131 for the tournament, an official event on the PGA Tour for the first time.
Bradley, who grew up near Boston in Woodstock, Vt., is such a big Red Sox fan, his bio on the tour website lists his “biggest thrill outside golf” as Boston’s World Series triumphs in 2004 and 2007.
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But even though he’s been getting updates on this year’s series from his girlfriend, Jillian, on the course, he’s kept his focus on his own game. So much so, in fact, he’s playing some of his best golf — even though the Red Sox lost on Thursday to even the series at one game apiece.
“In the back of my mind, I’m wondering what’s going on (with the Red Sox),” he said. “I know my mom at home is flipping back and forth, watching.”
Bradley has carded only one bogey in 36 holes at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. And he nearly had an eagle and another birdie on the back nine on Friday, missing both putts by inches.
“It’s hard to remember a time where I’ve been more dialed in than these last two days,” he said.
Moore, from Puyallup, didn’t follow up his stellar play in the opening round — when he made 10 birdies — with an equally strong second round. He had three bogeys to go with three birdies in an even-par 72 and sits at 9-under 135, a stroke ahead of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chris Stroud in a tie for third.
“Obviously it wasn’t the round I had yesterday but amazingly enough it wasn’t too dissimilar,” Moore said. “I hit a lot of really good putts today that just were just right on the edge, burning the edges, so overall I’m still very happy with my game and where I’m at.”
One player who’s not at all happy is Phil Mickelson, who again struggled with wayward drives a day after saying his swing is as bad as it’s been in a long time. He birdied his last two holes to salvage a 2-under 70, but that didn’t give the five-time major winner much solace.
“I don’t have the control of the swing that I’d like,” said Mickelson, who was 10 strokes off the pace at 3 under. “I’m not sure which side I’m going to miss it on and playing this golf course from the rough, which I did today, is extremely difficult. The rough is tough. You’re fighting for pars the whole day.”
Kyle Stanley (67) from Gig Harbor was nine shots back, and former Husky Richard H. Lee (73) was 12 back.
• Luke Guthrie handled another day of strong wind and kept his distance in the BMW Masters in Shanghai with a 1-under 71, giving the American a four-shot lead going into the weekend of his first tournament in Asia. He’s at 8-under 136 in the European Tour event. John Daly (74) was six shots behind.
• Suzann Pettersen had a hole-in-one and increased her lead to five strokes after the second round of the LPGA Taiwan Championship in Yangmei. The defending champion aced the 133-yard second hole with a pitching wedge and finished with a 3-under 69 to put her at 7-under 137.
• Kenny Perry birdied five of the first six holes and finished with a 7-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship in San Antonio. Seattle native Fred Couples, the 2011 winner, had a quadruple-bogey 8 on the first hole en route to a 75.