Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eagle Lifts Pariya Into Title Hunt

Jakarta, April 22: Pariya Junhasavasdikul forced his way into contention at the halfway stage of the inaugural Indonesian Masters on Friday, thanks to an outrageous eagle en route to a seven-under-par 65.

The Thai rising star holed out from 90 feet on the 12th hole of the magnificent Royale Jakarta Golf Club and then saved par two holes later with a chip in as his two-day total of seven-under-par 137 left him just two shots back of clubhouse leaders Shaaban Hussin of Malaysia and Park Hyun-bin of Korea.

After a breakthrough season last year where he won his maiden title and finished 12th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, much was expected from the 26-year-old in 2011. But while he has made all four cuts this year, Pariya has not managed to play his way into contention until this week’s US$750,000 showpiece in Jakarta.

“I’m very happy wit the result. My ball striking has been really good but my putting is not cooperating at all. I think I only had two birdies from inside 20 feet, the others were from inside 10 feet,” said Pariya.

“I holed out an eagle from the very front of the green from about 90 feet away. I chipped in for par on hole 14 and made a long putt on hole one from off the green for birdie. It was a pretty lucky day. When you shoot seven-under, I’m not going to really complain about it.”

The business management graduate from Purdue University, who is also a licensed pilot, was delighted to feature on the leaderboard in Indonesia’s newest professional golf tournament.

“Nothing was different. I just had more luck. I haven’t been posting any threat to the leaderboards in my last three tournaments so coming down here to put myself in contention is really good to see. This is a boost of confidence for me.”

Countryman Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who won the SAIL Open in India last month, kept himself in prime position to strike heading into the weekend rounds after adding a 68 to his opening 69.

After missing the halfway cut in the Maybank Malaysian Open last week, the burly Thai was determined to challenge this week, especially at Royale Jakarta which seems to suit his big-hitting game.

“It was an okay round for me. I’m having a lot of confidence after my win at the SAIL Open. I had a minor setback at last week’s Maybank Malaysian Open where I couldn’t focus (in the heat) but I feel that I’m at my best now. It was nice to birdie the closing two holes (eighth and ninth) to put myself in a good position,” said the former world junior champion.

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