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Birthday boy Kim builds two-shot lead in PGA tournament

Staff WritersAP
Birthday boy Tom Kim holds a two-shot lead in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconBirthday boy Tom Kim holds a two-shot lead in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AAP

Tom Kim is looking at the long term with his golf game and is getting short-term results at the Travelers Championship, where he followed an opening 62 with a 5-under 65 for the lowest 36-hole score of his career.

Kim had to settle for eight straight pars on the soggy TPC River Highlands and still finished at 13-under 127 - two shots ahead of a group that includes Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa.

Scheffler, coming off his first middle-of-the-road performance of the year at the US Open, had to wait through a storm delay of more than three hours to finish his last two holes. He made an 8-foot birdie on the 18th for a 64.

Morikawa (63) and Akshay Bhatia (65), who are also two behind, finished before the storms.

Kim and Scheffler both celebrated birthdays during the second round - Kim is 22 and Scheffler is 28 - and did their birthday damage earlier in the week with a trip to one of the Connecticut's best known pizza joints.

Kim already is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, though he has only one top 10 in his last 19 starts worldwide since his victory in Las Vegas last autumn.

"I think the work I've been doing has ... the past few months it's just been kind of like making sure that I feel confident out in the competition, not practice rounds," Kim said. "So I think this stretch is making me more sharper and more ready and I think it's kind of time to show."

Scheffler tied for 41st last week in the US Open at Pinehurst No.2, a course he never quite figured out. It was the first time since the fall of 2022 that he was outside the top 40.

He looks like the No.1 player this week, missing only one fairway and one green in the second round. That was key to scoring because officials allowed players to lift, clean and place their golf balls provided they were in the short grass.

"Definitely better than last week," Scheffler said. "I felt like I found a little stuff in my swing and feel like I'm seeing the breaks a lot better on these greens. Definitely feeling some good momentum from the last two days."

Scheffler birdied four of his last six holes, the final two after the rain delay. He left his approach below the hole on the 18th to set up his final birdie.

Two-time major champion Morikawa, did most of his work on the front nine by rolling six birdie putts. He picked up his final birdie on the par-3 16th and will be in the final group with Kim on Saturday.

PGA champion Xander Schauffele had another 65 and was alone in fifth place, three shots behind. Another shot back were Shane Lowry (62) and Justin Thomas (63).

Australian Cam Davis followed his 65 with a 71 to be tied 24th at four under. Jason Day (71-70) and Adam Scott (74-67) are both one over and tied 51st.

The signature event has no cut - the field is 70 players - and carries a $20 million ($A30m) purse.

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