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Keith Mitchell rolls to five-shot lead at CJ Cup

Keith Mitchell rolls to five-shot lead at CJ Cup

Keith Mitchell, who missed the cut at tournaments each of the past two weeks, is dominating the field through the first two rounds of the CJ Cup @ Summit in Las Vegas.

The 29-year-old Tennessee native fired an 8-under-par 64 on Friday at the Summit Club to establish a five-shot lead at the tournament’s midpoint. Mitchell sits at 18-under 126, with four players next at 13 under.

Australia’s Adam Scott (9 under in the second round), South Korea’s Seonghyeon Kim (9 under), Jordan Spieth (7 under) and Harry Higgs (5 under) are tied for second.

Rickie Fowler (66) and England’s Tyrrell Hatton (65) share sixth place at 12 under.

Eight players, including first-round leader Robert Streb, who followed a 61 with a 72, are tied for eighth.

Mitchell, more than two years removed from his lone PGA Tour win, at the 2019 Honda Classic, struggled at the Sanderson Farms Championship and the Shriners Children’s Open earlier this month before regaining his form this week.

On Friday, Mitchell opened birdie-par-eagle and made the turn at 6 under for the day. He made his lone bogey of the day at #11 but rebounded with three birdies the rest of the way.

“I’m definitely excited and pleased,” Mitchell said. “I spent a lot of time in the last few days leading up to this tournament working hard on my game and it’s showing. I’m very thankful for that. Just shows you that hard work pays off as long as you’re doing the right things.

“My putter’s definitely been nice and my speed has been a lot better this week. If those two things stay through this weekend, hopefully I can keep hitting in some quality shots and capitalizing.”

Kim capped his bogey-free round with an eagle on the par-5 18th hole, driving the green in two shots and sinking a 6-foot putt.

Scott produced an adventuresome back nine that started with consecutive bogeys before he logged four birdies, one par and two eagles over the last seven holes.

“You can’t expect a finish like that, but I’m going to take it,” Scott said. “I hit a lot of shots close and that made light work with the putter. I kind of put myself in contention. I mean, I’m a long way back still, but 36 holes to go, I like where I’m at, moving in the right direction. I’d love to have a nice solid day (Saturday).”

Normally played in South Korea as part of the tour’s Asian swing, the CJ Cup is being played in the Las Vegas area for the second straight year due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions. The event features a field of just 78 players with no 36-hole cut.

Jason Kokrak, the event’s 2020 champion at Shadow Creek Golf Course, is tied for 71st at 1 under.

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