Khon Kaen, Thailand, November 28 - India’s Anirban Lahiri took the outright lead by signing for a five-under-par 67 after the second round of the King’s Cup at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club on Friday.
The five-time Asian Tour winner, who shared the overnight lead with compatriot S.S.P. Chowrasia, compiled a two-day total of 12-under-par 132 to take pole position on his own, holding a two-shot advantage over Australia’s Andrew Dodt.
Dodt also rode on his rich vein of form by making a huge move up the leaderboard with a 65 to share second place with Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner Jakraphan Premsirigorn on 134 total.
Local hero Thaworn Wiratchant showed age has not slowed him down by taking fourth place on 135 while Chowrasia posted a 71 to slip to tied-fifth with Australia’s Adam Groom, Spain’s Carlos Pigem and Thailand’s Danthai Boonma and Piya Swangarunporn.
Indonesia's George Gandranata missed out on making the cut when he made double bogey on hole 13. Playing even par on the front nine, he needed to come in at 2-under, but with 3 birdies on the back nine the unlucky 13th hole meant he missed the cut by a single stroke.
Lahiri continued to assert himself at the US$500,000 Asian Tour event with another round that could edge him closer to his third win on the region’s premier Tour this year, after the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters in May and the Venentain Macau Open last month..
While it may not be similar to his opening round where he carded a 65, the Indian is still pleased with his efforts where he traded seven birdies against two bogeys on holes five and 15.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing. It wasn’t quite as good as it was yesterday but I’m still feeling comfortable on the golf course and the position I’m in.
“I made a couple of dropped shots today, missed more greens than I did yesterday. But I’m happy with the way I finished, especially with those two birdies in the last four holes to pick myself up,” said Lahiri.
Buoyed by his recent good form which included securing his card for Europe next year, Dodt is determined to give Lahiri a good run for his money over the weekend.
The Australian’s sole victory on the Asian Tour came in India in 2010. But with renewed confidence, Dodt believes he can make a stronger push for another grandstand finish.
“Confidence is a huge thing in golf and if you can ride that momentum, you can go a long way. I feel like I’m in a pretty good spot at the moment so I’ll try to push Anirban on the weekend and we’ll see where we end up,” said Dodt.
“I struggled a little bit yesterday but scored well. I hit it a lot better today and holed some new putts. Anytime you can shoot a good score like that, the confidence goes up and I’m looking forward to the weekend,” added the 28-year-old Australian.
Jakraphan, who earned his maiden ADT breakthrough in Sarawak last year, enjoyed a ‘stress-free’ round and is jubilant about staying in the mix and making it into the weekend rounds.
“I’m just playing for fun and not giving myself any pressure. This is my third Asian Tour event after Samui and Chiangmai. I missed the cut in Chiangmai and I’m happy I’ve got a chance to play in the weekend rounds now.
“My ADT win in Sarawak was a big confidence booster. There’s still a long way to go but I’m learning and getting better in each tournament I play,” said Jakraphan.
At 47, Thaworn showed no signs of letting up as he flew back under the radar with a 67.
The Thai already holds an unprecedented 17 titles on the Asian Tour and is looking forward to breaking more records.
“Who says I’m old? Still young boy,” laughed the Thai veteran. “I’m still enjoying my game every day and that’s important. I love my golf and that’s what keeps me going which includes trying to get another win again this week.”
The weekend cut was set at two-under-par with a total of 76 players progressing into the final 36 holes.
Leading Scores after round 2 of the King’s Cup (Par 72):
132 – Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 65-67
134 – Andrew DODT (AUS) 69-65, Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 69-65
135 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 68-67
136 – Adam GROOM (AUS) 70-66, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 67-69, S.S.P CHOWRASIA (IND) 65-71, Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA) 69-67, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 66-70
143 - George GANDRANATA (INA) 72-71