Xiao seizes lead #AsianGolfChamps

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Bowen Xiao of Chinese Taipei

Bowen Xiao of China

Xiamen, China, December 1: Local prospect Bowen Xiao tamed the windy conditions to sign for a commendable five-under-par 67 and grab a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the KG S&H CITY Asian Golf Championship on Friday.

The 27-year-old Xiao, who is making his debut on the Asian Tour this week, took advantage of a solid front nine 32, highlighted by one eagle and two birdies, to sit atop the leaderboard on six-under-par 138 at the Kaikou Golf Club’s West course.

Namchok Tantipokhakul of Thailand credited his mental game as he took second place on his own following a battling 71 at the US$350,000 event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the China Golf Association (CGA) in China for the first time in nine years.

Australian Marcus Both, a two-time Asian Tour winner, sits three shots off the pace in third following a bogey-free 69.  Both, who is relishing the challenges of the golf course, credited his good performance to his accurate drives and approach shots.

Singapore’s Quincy Quek snatched the limelight when he aced the par-three 17th hole with a seven-iron from 174 yards.

Bowen Xiao of Chinese Taipei

Bowen Xiao of China

Did you know:

  • Bowen Xiao’s best result on the China Tour this year is a tied-sixth finish at the Yunnan Championship.
  • The top-five non-exempt players from the China Tour Order of Merit at the end of the season will receive spots into the Final Stage of the 2018 Asian Tour Qualifying School. Xiao is in the running for one of the five spots.
  • Xiao missed only one fairway and four greens in his solid round of 67 today. He amassed 27 putts in total.
  • Namchok is chasing for his first Asian Tour title. He came close at the Indonesia Open last month before settling for tied-third.
  • Marcus Both claimed his breakthrough Asian Tour win at the 2003 Sanya Open in China.
  • His last Asian Tour victory was in the Philippines in 2014, where he entered as a sponsor’s invite.
  • Quincy Quek’s ace was his career’s ninth hole-in-one and the first on the Asian Tour. In 2012, he scored one during the Asian Development Tour event in the Philippines, where he won.
  • His ace is the 11th hole-in-one scored on the Asian Tour this season.
  • Only five players broke par at the halfway stage of the tournament.
  • A total of 68 players, including two amateurs, made the halfway cut set at 11-over-par 155, which is the highest in Asian Tour history.
  • The 603-yard par-five 14th hole proved to be the hardest today. A total of 13 birdies, 43 pars, 26 bogeys and 24 double-bogeys or worse were made there today. The average score was 5.84.

Player Interviews

Bowen Xiao of Chinese Taipei

Bowen Xiao of China

Bowen Xiao (Chn) – Second Round 67 (-5), Total 138 (-6)

I played really well today. I am really happy with the way played, given the windy conditions.

I was surprised with my eagle at the 12th hole. I hit it to pin high left and the ball just bounced into the hole. I tried to avoid making mistakes off the tee as well. I missed a lot of short putts for birdies, but I told myself to stay patient out there.

This is my first time playing on the Asian Tour. It feels different from playing on the China Tour. I think the standard of play is very high on the Asian Tour.

If it stays windy like today for the next two days, I will stick to my strategy and hopefully play like how I did today. I have played in the final group before so I won’t be nervous if I am playing in one tomorrow.

I would love to play on the Asian Tour if I have the opportunity. I will definitely go and try out the Qualifying School next year. I hope I can get exemptions into the final stage. I just need to be one of the five leading Chinese players on the China Tour Order of Merit. I am still in the running for it.

Namchok Tantipokhakul of Thailand

Namchok Tantipokhakul of Thailand

Namchok Tanipokhakul (Tha) – Second Round 71 (-1), Total 139 (-5)

It’s too windy today. The course conditions were difficult, so I’m really happy with a one-under-par finish.

My highlight of the round was at the par-5 14th. I took a chance with a driver, then laid up with my second shot. My approach to the green was good and the ball ended up just three yards from the hole. I then putted in for birdie.

I don’t think too much about that (his position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit). I’m just going to take one round at a time, and one shot at a time.

Yesterday I spoke about the relaxed mood within my flight, but it was certainly more tensed today as everyone was focusing on doing well on this challenging golf course.

Marcus Both (Aus) – Second Round 69 (-3), Total 141 (-3)

The practice round has been nice and calm, but when the wind caught up and the course played totally different. Everything has to be done on the fly. I don’t mind the conditions being a bit tricky, as I feel that I’m able to work my way through those challenges.

Marcus Both of Australia

Marcus Both of Australia

I did a pretty good job today. I just realized that I was bogey-free from when I was at the scoring office, which was pretty nice!

I had a bit of a scrappy start, and then, from the third hole onwards (at the 12th), I started to drive the ball beautifully. That was the key because it will be quite painful if you hit your tee shots wide. Keeping bogeys off the card was the main thing today.

These are the type of courses that I’m used to playing when I’m in Melbourne. So, I’m not too unhappy when I experienced the windy conditions. This way, I can work my way around the golf course, which is one of my strengths. I love golf courses when a par means something.

I was caught behind the trees at the 14th fairway so I had to lay up. Then, I hit a nice third shot from a long way back. Then made a putt for birdie from about 10 feet. That was my highlight of the round.

I’m not sure where I am on the Order of Merit. My job for this week is to play as well as I can, just like any other week.

Quincy Quek made a hole in one

Quincy Quek made a hole in one

Quincy Quek (Sgp) – Second Round 71 (-1), Total 146 (+2)

The wind was coming from the right, which helped a little bit, I was just trying to get the ball onto the top side, where the pin was. Yesterday, I hit it to the top as well with the same club. The wind was stronger today, but I thought, a 7-iron should be about right. I decided to aim at the right bunker and let the wind push it back.

When I hit it, I knew it was good enough to get the ball to the top. It landed a little right of the pin, but with the spin, the ball just drew a straight line to the hole.

There was not much green to work with. If you hit it a little bit harder, you’ll be too long. If it is too short, the ball will roll down off the green.

It was my ninth hole-in-one. I had two as an amateur. I had one each in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. I had two in 2015, , but none in 2016. This was my first in 2017 and the first on the Asian Tour

Scores after round 2 of the KG S&H City Asian Golf Championship being played at the par 72, 7012 Yards Kaikou Golf Club course (am – denotes amateur):

38 – Bowen XIAO (CHN) 71-67.

139 – Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 68-71.

141 – Marcus BOTH (AUS) 72-69.

143 – Callum TARREN (ENG) 69-74, LIU Yan-wei (CHN) 69-74.

144 – Bryden MACPHERSON (AUS) 74-70.

145 – Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 73-72, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 73-72.

146 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 74-72, Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS) 74-72, Giwhan KIM (KOR) 73-73, SHE Zi-han (CHN) 71-75, Quincy QUEK (SIN) 75-71, LEE Chieh-po (TPE) 71-75.

147 – Teemu PUTKONEN (FIN) 69-78, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 69-78, George GANDRANATA (INA) 75-72, William HARROLD (ENG) 64-83.

148 – Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 72-76, Ryann REE (USA) 69-79, Michael SKELTON (ENG) 72-76, YUAN Tian (CHN) 73-75, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 73-75, Sunil JUNG (CAN) 74-74, HAK Shun Yat (HKG) 73-75, Mathew WEBB (ENG) 73-75, LI Xin-yang (CHN) 71-77, Nicolas PAEZ (USA) 71-77, Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 75-73.

149 – JIN Da-xing (CHN) 70-79, SUNG Mao-chang (TPE) 76-73, Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 74-75, HSU Hao-sheng (TPE) 72-77.

150 – HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE) 70-80, ZHOU Guo-wu (CHN) 74-76, SU Dong (CHN) 73-77, MA Cheng-yao (CHN) 75-75, ZHU Wei-yu (CHN) 74-76.

151 – Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 75-76, Junsung KIM (KOR) 77-74, LIU Chun (CHN) 76-75, ZHANG Zi-hong (am, CHN) 77-74, Yusuke MINAMOTO (JPN) 73-78, Alex BELT (ENG) 78-73, LI Chao (CHN) 70-81, Kevin YUAN (AUS) 80-71, YE Jian-feng (CHN) 69-82.

Ends.

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