PERTH, Australia (AP) — American Anthony Kang, winner of last week’s Malaysian Open on the Asian Tour, shot his second straight 5-under 67 Friday to take a share of the lead after two rounds of the Johnnie Walker Classic.
Kang had a 10-under 134 total on The Vines Resort composite course in the European, Asian and Australasian PGA-sanctioned tournament. He is tied with Ireland’s Damien McGrane (68) who birdied the 18th to put him atop of the leaderboard with Kang.
Kang and McGrane have a one-stroke lead over Spain’s Ignacio Garrido, Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan and New Zealand amateur Danny Lee, who all had a 68. Lee won last year’s U.S. Amateur championship.
Former world No. 1 Greg Norman, playing in his first regular, non-senior tournament since finishing third in last year’s British Open, didn’t make it to the weekend after rounds of 75 and 71. His 2-over 146 was five strokes away from making the cut.
There were 27 players within three shots of the lead, including a nine-way tie for sixth at 136, two strokes off Kang and McGrane.
That group included American Ryder Cup player Anthony Kim after his second straight 68, and first-round leader Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, who shot 72 after an opening 64.
European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie (70) was among a group of 13 tied for 15th, three strokes off the lead. Also in that group were England’s Ian Poulter (69) and Graeme Storm and South Africa’s David Frost. Storm and Frost shot 64s, the low rounds of the day.
Kang and Kim share Korean origins as well as American citizenship but don’t know much about each other. Kang plays mostly on the Asian Tour.
“He’s obviously playing the best out of the Anthonys,” Kim said, smiling. “I don’t know much about Anthony but know obviously he can play, and he’s playing great right now. We’ll wait until the weekend, and we’ll talk about it after that’s over.”
The 36-year-old Kang’s Malaysian Open title at Kuala Lumpur was his first tournament win in eight years.
The Arizona-based father of two said he’s feeling tired from the past few days celebrating his first win since the 2001 Myanmar Open. His only other Asian Tour victory was the 1999 Philippines Open.
“I started to hit the wall at the 11th,” he said. “I must have drank six Powerades to get the energy levels up a bit. I’m definitely looking forward to sleeping well for the next few days, that’s for sure.”
Norman looked like he might make the cut when he was 3-under after eight holes and moved into 95th place, about 30 positions up from where he started the day.
But a double-bogey seven on the 10th – when he chipped from one side of the green to the other, twice – and a bogey on the par-3 13th ended any chances of him moving into the top 70 and making the cut.
“I was just hoping to finish a good round off and I couldn’t do it,” Norman said. “End of story.”
Camilo Villegas of Colombia also failed to make the cut. His 71 after an opening 72 left him two strokes adrift.