Battling Kiradech survives Masters cut

Sat 07 Apr 2018

Battling Kiradech survives Masters cut


Augusta, April 7: Kiradech Aphibarnrat fought hard and came up with a crunch birdie on the final hole to make the cut at the Masters despite a disappointing first round, and he will now have a chance to improve on that over the weekend.

The 28-year-old Thai who finished 15th at the Masters two years ago, carded two-under-par 70 in his second round for a two-round total of five-over-par 149. He finished right on the cut line.

Meanwhile 21-year-old Indian star Shubhankar Sharma, who is making his major debut this week, battled tooth-and-nail but still failed to make the cut by two strokes after carding a second round 74.

Honorary Asian Tour member Vijay Singh (74) made the cut to sit in tied-23rd place while Asian Tour winner, Yuta Ikeda of Japan missed the cut following a 77.

American Patrick Reed put himself in prime position for his first Major win by carding a second round score of 66 to take the lead by two strokes over Australian Marc Leishman who carded a low round of 67.

Trying to adjust to a new driver that did not seem to be working on the first day, Kiradech made the right adjustments to bounce back in the tournament. “I knew I had to fight hard and not give up till the last. After an even par front nine, I knew I had to get some birdies. The eagle on hole 13 followed by birdies on 15th and 18th got me over,” said Kiradech.

The birdie on hole 18, which was playing tough on Friday was crucial. After crushing a drive to 295 yards, he had a superb second shot to three feet, which he holed for a birdie and got him a place in the weekend rounds.

Kiradech bogeyed the par-3 third hole to slip to eight-over-par, but the birdie on the eighth gave him an outside chance. At the turn, he bogeyed hole 10, but then recovered superbly with an eagle on hole 13.

The drama came on the final hole, which was a 465-yard par 4. On the green in two, Kiradech holed the putt he needed to enable him to make it to the weekend.

Talking about his Masters experience, Sharma added, “It has been fantastic.  I think I'll be a few shots shy of the cut but I thought I played pretty well, just didn't finish the way I wanted to yesterday.  But this experience is invaluable.  Just can't wait to get back every year after this and I'll do my best and I know I'll have to play my best to get here every year, but it has been a fantastic experience.  The course has been in superb condition, the crowds have been great and it's just a pleasure to play in front of them,” said Sharma.

Despite missing the cut, Sharma plans to stay on for the next two days, before heading to his next event in Texas.

 “I am going to stay on and enjoy the week. I have learnt a lot and I will surely be back,” added Sharma

Rory McIlroy, chasing a career Grand Slam with a Masters victory, and 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth shared fourth on 140, McIlroy after a 71 while first-day leader Spieth shot 74.

More winds and cooler conditions are expected Saturday along with rain.