Kitayama claims top spot after second round at Pebble Beach, Hovland closes the gap

By Sports Desk February 03, 2023

Kurt Kitayama sits alone atop the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am leaderboard after Friday's second round with a score of nine under.

Kitayama enjoyed a strong seven-under 64 on his opening round at Monterey Peninsula Country Club – the easiest of the three courses being used – and backed it up with a two-under 70 at the flagship Pebble Beach Golf Links.

He shot three birdies and one bogey on the championship course, which has hosted six U.S. Open tournaments, and will also be the site of Sunday's final round this weekend.

Kitayama will look to remain in pole position after playing the Spyglass Hill course in his third round, with the cut to take place after all players have played all three courses.

First-round leader Hank Lebioda found the Pebble Beach track far more difficult than Monterey Peninsula, opening the week with an eight-under 63 before following it with an even par 72 to remain at eight under, tied for second.

He is joined by fellow Americans Brandon Wu, Keith Mitchell and Joseph Bramlett – who all played at Monterey Peninsula on Friday. Of the five players to shoot rounds of five under or better, all took place at Monterey Peninsula.

Ireland's Seamus Power is one further back at seven under, and he is joined in a five-man group that includes Japan's Satoshi Kodaira and the USA's Scott Stallings, who both sit in a strong position.

Both Kodaira and Stallings have already got the two difficult courses out of the way, and will have a chance to slingshot to the top when they tee up at Monterey Peninsula on Saturday.

Of the big names, world number 11 Viktor Hovland pulled to within three strokes of the lead at six under, while three-time major champion Jordan Spieth is two further back at four under.

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