Koh Samui, Thailand, June 16: India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia shot a bogey-free three-under-par 68 to join the leaderboard logjam early in the second round of the Queen’s Cup with countryman Rashid Khan, home hero Prayad Marksaeng, Filipino duo Juvic Pagunsan and Angelo staying in the title mix on Friday.
The straight-shooting Chawrasia, winner of the Hero Indian Open in March and currently second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, was rock solid as he produced an eagle and one birdie at Santiburi Samui Country Club.
His seven-under-par 137 aggregate was matched by back-in-form Khan, Que and Prayad, who all shot matching 70s and former Asian Tour number one Pagunsan, who charged into contention with a fine 67.
A top-two finish in the US$500,000 tournament here can propel Chawrasia, a six-time Asian Tour winner, into top spot on the Merit list and he has shown his clear intent with two solid rounds consisting of only one bogey in days on the holiday isle of Samui.
Pagunsan, who was the region’s Order of Merit champion in 2011, sank five birdies against a lone bogey as he stepped up his chase for a second Asian Tour victory. The 39-year-old took only 26 putts to move into contention in the tournament which he has finished top-three in 2010 and 2012.
A switch back to his previous ‘baseball’ grip has worked wonders for Khan at the Queen’s Cup as an eagle on 12, courtesy of a hole-out from 138 yards with a nine iron, kept him in the hunt for a third Asian Tour victory. He lamented a cold putter, needing 30 strokes on the greens.
Did you Know?
- Chawrasia successfully defended his Hero Indian Open title by seven shots in March for his sixth Asian Tour victory which helped move him up to second place on the Merit list with US$304,500.
- Chawrasia finished equal sixth in the Queen’s Cup in 2015. He was also tied eighth at Santiburi Samui in the 2006 Bangkok Airways Open. His lowest round here is 67 shot in 2015. He also finished tied 30th at the Nordea Masters in Sweden two weeks ago.
Juvic Pagunsan (Phi), Second Round 67 (-4), Total 137 (-7)
I hit it good out there and putted nicely. I’ve played good this season. When I changed my driver early this season, I managed to hit it farther and straighter which is a big advantage. Managed to make five birdies and hit a lot of greens. I really like playing on this course. I like the blind holes because you don’t know what’s going to happen. I love coming to this place too, the beach, the people and the food especially. Maybe I’ll need to take my chances better this weekend. If I have a chance, I’ll try to grab the opportunity to win this week.
Rashid Khan (Ind), Second Round 70 (-1), Total 137 (-7)
What I wanted to do, it went the opposite. I struggled with everything. I had chances to make birdies but missed those four or five footers. I think the eagle on 12 saved my day when I holed my nine iron. But I still didn’t convert anything coming in and bogeyed 17. Some misreads and hit some putts on the wrong line. Other than that, it was decent.
My eagle was from 138 yards. I hit a really good shot and we couldn’t find the ball on the green. I had no idea it went in. When we reached the green, I couldn’t find the ball and Namchok said look into the hole and it was there. It was nice.
I’m still in there with a five. Two more days, let’s see. I used to play a 10 finger, baseball grip. At the Indian Open, I changed it to an overlapping grip and that didn’t work out at hole. I struggled for a while. I didn’t play the Thailand Open as I just focused on going back to my old grip and it’s finally paying off. I’ve used the baseball grip since I started playing golf for 15 or 16 years. At the Indian Open second round, I changed the grip. I’m not sure why I changed. That was my mistake. I had to pay for that as I missed the cuts in Japan and Taipei. I feel more comfortable with this old grip, I’ve won with this and I’m comfortable again with my game.
Angelo Que (Phi), Second Round 70 (-1), Total 137 (-7)
I started a bit slow, bogeyed the first and doubled the fifth. I came back after that. I’m hitting it pretty good except for those two holes which were bad holes. If you misjudge the wind or get an unlucky bounce, it can cost you. You just have to be careful and accept whatever that happen. It’ll be fun in the next two rounds, especially when I may get a chance to play with Juvic.
I’m in good form right now, hopefully I’ll keep it up towards the weekend. I’ll like to add another win outside the country. I’ve been winning back home but it would be better if I can win abroad. It would be another achievement for me. I’m not counting on it, but I’m hoping to do it. I have to think better on the golf course. Today I got distracted a bit as the pace of play was getting a bit slow and I was getting impatient out there.
SSP Chawrasia (Ind) – Second round 68 (-3), Total 134 (-7)
I’m playing good, it’s good going. I’m happy. The last two weeks, I’ve played well in England and Sweden except for the last round. I’m here and I’m joint leading right, so I’m looking forward to the next two days. If I win it, I can be number one on the Order of Merit. If I can finish as number one, it’ll be my biggest achievement, Asian Tour number one. I’ll be trying my best to get it.
The putting has been a bit of a struggle. I’m hitting it good but need to putt better. I can win the tournament if I putt better. The greens are a bit slower than previous years. My confidence is high and I feel really good.
Last year was a good year and I’m playing good this year from that. I’ve played many years now in Europe and Asia and I know what works well for me now. I’m slowly getting better and my trend seems to be moving in the right direction.
When the putting comes in for me, I’ll be on the leaderboard. That’s something that I’m working hard on. I’m certainly on the right track.
On his higher score signed on hole 9 where he shot a birdie three but signed for a par four?
It’s my own fault. I didn’t check my scorecard. This is the second time it’s happened in my career.
Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) – Second Round 70 (-1), Total 137 (-7)
Today, I couldn’t putt. My driving was also not consistent. Hit some misses on 10, 16 and 17. The greens this morning was a bit slower than usual and I couldn’t get the pace right. Still in a very good position. On the last three holes, I missed some birdie chances. I still have a good feeling that I can win this tournament. Maybe show the younger players that this old guy can win more Asian Tour tournaments.