11 birdies help Kim soar into contention

The Baltimore Sun

AUGUSTA, Ga. -He has been known more for his flashy belt buckle, his so-so work ethic and his Southern California, "Dude, where's my 3-wood?" vibe.

Anthony Kim went a long way toward smashing that reputation with a sterling Ryder Cup performance in September.

And he might have crushed it for good in the second round of the Masters on Friday, when he went from the cut line to contention in a span of seven holes.

On a day windy enough to knock the hat off your head and a well-struck 8-iron into Rae's Creek, Kim set a Masters record with 11 birdies.

With a 75-65 start, Kim sits five shots behind leaders and fellow 2008 Ryder Cup alums Chad Campbell (70) and Kenny Perry (67), who are at 9-under-par 135.

"To make 11 in one day is pretty special," Kim said. "And to do it at Augusta is incredible. If I can keep my putter hot, I like my chances here."

All 32 players under par should. No knock on Campbell, but the brawny Texan also led after two rounds in 2006 before a 75-71 weekend left him three behind champion Phil Mickelson.

Perry has a spotty record in majors, in part because he doesn't always play them. If he wins, he would become the oldest major champion at 48 years, 8 months.

"Everything's a bonus at this stage in my life," he said. "Here I am at 48 ... still big and strong and able to do things."

The strongest guy out here, the SoCal legend with a decade's more experience than Kim, shot an even-par 72.

Tiger Woods' round could best be described by these two words: Ho. Hum.

And Woods wasn't much more expansive than that during his post-round interview.

Q: "Did you get frustrated with your game, with yourself?"

A: "Yeah."

Q: "Is seven strokes [behind] doable?"

A: "Yeah."

Woods and his mentor, Mark O'Meara, have tried to take Kim under their collective wing. They don't want him to be known for having so much talent with so little to show for it.

O'Meara was paired with Kim at the Merrill Lynch Shootout in December 2007. The veteran told him he had as much talent as any player he has seen - other than Woods.

He also told Kim: "Unless you don't like money and you don't want to win tournaments, then maybe you continue down that other road."

That road led to the bar, not the practice tee.

"He was taking his talents for granted," Woods said in a Golf Channel interview.

Every now and again, Kim, 23, still offers a cringe-worthy response to a question, like last month when he was asked about the slumping economy's effect on the PGA Tour.

"From what I hear from people a lot smarter than me," he said, "the car industry is really having a tough time right now."

Kim sounded mature and grateful Friday when speaking about his Korean parents, Paul and Miryoung.

When Anthony was a teenager, Paul Kim pushed for him to practice and succeed. He later acknowledged that he pushed too hard, leading to a strained relationship.

"They created this monster," Anthony Kim joked. "But I can't thank them enough. Obviously no relationship is ever perfect. But I have great parents, and I feel like that's the reason I'm here."

Kim also said he drew inspiration from Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, a Maryland native who died Thursday at the hands of an alleged drunken driver.

"You never know what can happen, even at age 22," Kim said. "It's been a dream of mine to be at the Masters my whole life, and there's no reason to pout about a bogey or three-putt. Enjoy being out here ... and have some fun."

at a glance

Leader board

Chad Campbell

65-70 - 135

Kenny Perry

68-67 - 135

Angel Cabrera

68-68 - 136

Todd Hamilton

68-70 - 138

Tim Clark

68-71 - 139

TV: Chs. 13, 9 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.)

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