Dubai, December 19 - Korean veteran Mo Joong-kyung, Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul, Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing and Australian Jake Higginbottom have ensured the final two rounds of the 2014 season at the inaugural Dubai Open will be a nerve-jangling affair.
All four safely made it through into the final two rounds of the US$500,000 tournament to keep alive their hopes of finishing inside the top-60 of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit and keep their cards for next season.
However, India’s Chiragh Kumar, who was in 60th place coming into the week at the Els Club Dubai, missed the halfway cut after a disappointing 75 while it was also the end of the road for Indonesian prospect George Gandranata, who missed the cut by two following a level par 72.
Switzerland’s Martin Rominger, currently ranked 58th, will be on the edge of seat in the next two days as he also missed the halfway cut with a 75.
Mo, a two-time Asian Tour winner, currently lies in 64th position and a second round of 71 saw him end the day in tied 14th place alongside Lam, some four shots behind co-leaders Shiv Kapur and Pavit Tangkamolprasert.
The 43-year-old Korean paid dearly for not having a sweater in his morning start as he dropped two early bogeys in chilly conditions before bouncing back with an eagle and three birdies.
“It was very cold this morning and I didn’t have any proper clothes. I had a rough start but I managed to bring it back for a one-under card. That eagle on 12 kind of changed my day. I hit a good shot which I thought would be close but it went in,” said Mo.
“I wasn’t having a good day but that turned it around. I can’t think about it (card fight) on the course. Just concentrate on every shot. I’m not really happy with my swing but I’m just managing. I’m going to practice my putting as I missed quite a few birdie chances.”
Lam, a one-time winner on Tour, was disappointed he did not take advantage of the calm conditions in the morning as he dropped five bogeys, one double bogey against five birdies.
“The thing is I hit the ball exactly the same as I did yesterday. I was hitting it pretty solid, just the putts didn’t drop today … simple as that,” said Lam.
“I missed six greens and I shot seven over on those holes. I made my share of birdies, but I just need to stop making soft bogeys. I’m still in with a chance. I just need the putts to drop like they did yesterday.”
Kumar was disappointed that he would lose out on his top-60 spot. “I didn’t play well on the front nine and fought hard on the back nine. But I made a stupid error on the last hole which I think will cost me my card. It’s not the easiest thing but I guess it’s part of the game,” said the Indian.
“I haven’t given it any thought I need to see what I’m going to do. You’ll definitely see me out here next year whether I go back to Qschool or not (through the country exemption).”
Gandranata, Indonesia’s number one, said he would sign up for the Qualifying School next month. “You’ll definitely see me around next year,” he said.
The Dubai Open is promoted and organised by golf in DUBAi. The Els Club Dubai is situated within the sprawling Dubai Sports City where the par-72 course combines links style golf with traditional ‘classical era’ design. Opened for play in 2008, the course stretches 7,538 yards and was named as ‘Best New International Course’ by prestigious US magazine, Links, and “Best New Facility of the Year” by Troon Golf.
Scores after the second of the Dubai Open (Par 72):
137 - Shiv KAPUR (IND) 71-66, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 67-70
138 - Arjun ATWAL (IND) 73-65, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 69-69, Simon YATES (SCO) 71-67, WANG Jeung-hun (KOR) 71-67
139 - Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 73-66, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 71-68, Joshua WHITE (ENG) 71-68
147 - George GANDRANATA (INA) 75-72