Tamsui, Chinese Taipei, October 4: Sam Cyr of the United States showed his fondness for the US$600,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters when he returned with a three-under-par 69 to snatch the second round lead from Australia’s Scott Hend on Friday.
Cyr, who finished tied-ninth in last year’s edition, was clearly determined to do better as he compiled a two-day total of five-under-par 139 to take a two-shot advantage over Hend, who had earlier grabbed the clubhouse lead with his 72 at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat regained his all-important confidence when he signed for a 70 to take third place while Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun and Bangladesh’s Siddikur posted matching 143s to share fourth place at the richest Asian Tour event to be staged in Chinese Taipei this year.
Trailing overnight leader Hend by one, Cyr signaled his intention to win his maiden title on the region’s premier Tour with a birdie on the par-four 12th.
The 27-year-old dropped two shots on holes 14 and 16 but stormed back gallantly with four birdies on holes one, five, six and seven in his inward front-nine.
“I had lots of god’s grace today as I had a couple of hiccups. But I’m definitely playing good. There’s something about this golf course that I really like. It’s tough as it makes you think and you’ve to hit good golf shots which are really crucial here,” said Cyr.
“I’ve to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past two days and if I can continue to hit the fairways and hole those putts, I’ll be in a very good position come Sunday,” added the American.
Known as the comeback king on the Asian Tour, Hend was in an unfamiliar position having taken the morning clubhouse lead.
The Australian was however unfazed by his reputation as he believes it is his ability to do well that counts.
“It doesn’t really matter if I’m known as the comeback king or not. If you can play good golf, you can win from the front. You just got to believe in yourself and go and have a crack at it,” said Hend.
All of Hend’s three wins on the Asian Tour were from come-behinds as he stormed from five back to win his maiden title in Indonesia in 2008 and was four behind when he won his second title in Singapore last season.
The Australian’s third victory on the Asian Tour this year was also won in similar fashion where he charged back from six shots to win again in Thailand.
The 40-year-old was left to rue several costly putts as he marked his outward-nine with a 35, highlighted by three birdies and one bogey.
He parred the next eight holes coming home before dropping another shot on the closing par-four ninth.
“Wind conditions are very calm for here but I thought the greens conditions were a little worse than yesterday and difficult to putt on,” said Hend.
While his short game might have deserted him on a day where course conditions were much benign, Hend believes he can extend his lead once he starts to gain an upper-hand on his short game.
“It’s a good position to be in heading into the weekend even though I didn’t hole any putts today. I’ll have a better advantage once I start holing those putts,” said Hend.
Panuphol surprised even himself when he found himself in an unfamiliar position, looking down at the rest of the chasing pack at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters,
“I haven’t made it into the weekend rounds for a long time so it really feels good to be playing this weekend and what’s even better is that I’m at the top!,” said Panuphol.
Prior to his campaign this week, the Thai had to endure a season plagued by inconsistencies and poor form, having made only six cuts in 13 starts.
“I’ve been hitting and putting the ball a lot better. I’m really happy with the last two days and it all because of my confidence. Everything’s going back. Seeing good shots and holing a lot of good putts just makes everything looks a whole lot better,” said the Thai, who goes by the nickname, ‘Coconut’.
The Mercuries Taiwan Masters is the last chance for players to break into the top-10 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and secure their place in the lucrative CIMB Classic in Malaysia later this month.
It is also the penultimate event for leading players on the merit list vying for a place in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.
The halfway cut was set at five-over with 51 players making it into the weekend rounds.
Leading scores after round 2 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters 2013 being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (a- denotes amateur):
139 – Sam CYR (USA) 70-69.
141 – Scott HEND (AUS) 69-72.
142 – Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 72-70.
143 – BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 73-70, SIDDIKUR (BAN) 72-71.
144 – Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 73-71, Berry HENSON (USA) 73-71.
145 – HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE) 72-73, Unho PARK (AUS) 74-71, Matthew STIEGER (AUS) 74-71, Adam GROOM (AUS) 71-74.
146 – Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN) 72-74, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 72-74, Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 75-71, David LUTTERUS (AUS) 70-76, Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 76-70.
147 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 72-75
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.