Abraham Ancer’s rookie season was an eye opener for him.
Ancer started 2016 with nine missed cuts in a row, added four more during the year and ended the season at number 190 on the scoreboard, losing his playing card.
When he returned in 2018 he was a different player and has continued to improve every season. He won his first win of the year at a World Golf Championship in Memphis, achieved nine top 10 placements and climbed to 11th place in the world rankings.
After a 63 on Saturday in the CJ Cup at the Summit Club, he will play in the last group looking for another win. All that success, he said, is the result of being comfortable with the best players in the world.
“When I went on tour for the first time, I was super intimidated,” said Ancer, who is three shots behind leader Rickie Fowler. “When I first came to a big event or major, I didn’t feel I belonged, and in the beginning it definitely took some time to calm down somehow.”
He was calm enough on Saturday to be on par with Rory McIlroy as the two together went under 19 for the day.
“I know my game is good enough,” said Ancer. “I just have to stick with what I’m doing and see what happens in the end.”
Victory or bust
Unannounced Seonghyeon Kim is battling for the CJ Cup title and associated rewards, including full-time status on the PGA Tour through the end of the 2023 season.
Far from winning, the 23-year-old will be in New Mexico next week for the second qualifying round for the Korn Ferry Tour.
With changes in qualification introduced a few years ago, the Korn Ferry Tour is the route most players must take to reach the PGA Tour. And although Kim won the 2020 Korean PGA Championship and the 2021 Japan PGA Championship, he has no status in the US and has to start over.
Next week Kim will battle 72 golfers playing for 19 places to advance to the Q-School Finals in Georgia in November.
Harry Higgs was shocked to learn of Kim’s situation.
“Boom. Let’s go,” said Higgs. “There’s a guy who goes to the second level of Q-School and plays in the last group here on Saturday. That’s how deep Pro-Golf is.”
– Keith Mitchell lit the first two rounds at age 18 while playing with Ian Poulter before tripping on Saturday. Perhaps the mojo will return on Sunday as Mitchell is regrouped with the Englishman.
– First-lap leader Robert Streb, who set a course record with a 61, came back into the mix on Saturday with a 65 and was three behind.
– Jordan Spieth played in the last group on Saturday and spun his wheels, which resulted in a birdie, a bogey and 16 pars in a tie for 17th place.
Greg Robertson reports on golf for the Review Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].