Battling Chan Stays Ahead

Fri 04 Dec 2009

Battling Chan Stays Ahead


Khon Kaen, Thailand, December 4: Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yih-shin held on to his lead at the King’s Cup with a battling one-over-par 73 on Friday but six players were hot on his heels.

The 32-year-old failed to repeat his opening round’s magic when he shot a sparkling course record 64 but will still enter the weekend rounds one stroke ahead of the pack with his two-day total of seven-under-par 137 at the US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament presented by Singha and Sports Authority of Thailand.

Rahil Gangjee of India charged into contention when he equaled Chan’s course mark at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club to also ease the pressure in his hopes of earning his Asian Tour card for next season.

He finished the day in tied second place alongside compatriots Harmeet Kahlon (67) and Anirban Lahiri (72), Korea’s Kim Dae-hyun (68), Lin Wen-hong of Chinese Taipei (71) and Scotland’s Ross Bain (69) on matching 138s.

Little-known Apichai Leelakajornjit maintained Thailand’s challenge after a 71 left him two back on 139 alongside Corey Harris of the United States who shot a 70 and towering Welshman Craig Smith, who carded a 69.

“My putting just wasn’t clicking for me as I missed a lot of short putts. It was quite disappointing because the conditions were quite easy in the afternoon and I did not put in a good score. I didn’t take the chances I had,” said Chan, who is searching for his first Asian Tour victory.

Starting from the 10th tee, the unassuming Chan could have retained his overnight two-shot advantage if not for a costly bogey on his last hole where he missed a three-foot par putt.

“It is disappointing but I have to concentrate in the last two rounds and hopefully my name will still be on top on Sunday,” he added.

Gangjee chipped in for an eagle on the 18th, his ninth hole of the day to add to his six birdies and a lone bogey as he moved into contention.

“In the beginning it was stressful but later in the round, it became fun. After yesterday’s first round, I was outside the cut line and I was so stressed out and hit it all over the place. Today was something else, everything clicked.


“Now, I’m in a different kind of mode. I think I should be safe. It’s stressed me out enough. Now that I’m in a good position, I’ll try to finish it off,” said Gangjee, who is ranked 63rd on the Order of Merit and needs to finish in the top-65 on Sunday.

Scotsman Bain was tied for the lead before a bogey on his last hole dropped him into joint second place.  “I played really nicely from tee to green so I’m a little frustrated not to be one better. All in all two days gone, I’m still happy to be in contention,” said Bain, whose best finish this season was tied ninth at the SAIL Open in India.

Kim rued a bogey on the ninth hole which was his last hole but was delighted to be in contention. He credited his approach shots where he was able to sink in five birdies from six feet.

He is chasing his maiden Asian Tour win and after coming close at the Queen’s Cup in Thailand earlier in the season where he finished tied second, he is determined to go one better in the King’s Cup.

“I’m very pleased with my round despite my bogey. My goal for the weekend is just to continue playing the way that I played these last two days and keep my mind clear. I can’t put pressure on myself,” said the Korean.

Malaysia’s Shaaban Hussin, who started the week in 65th place on the Merit list, three-putted his last hole for a 78 to miss the halfway cut by one shot. He reckons he will slip out of the top-65 bracket which players need to earn their playing rights for next year.

“I tried to control my score today. I tried to play it safe but it didn’t work. Six over is not good. I missed my birdie putt (on 18) and I thought I had missed the cut at two over. I had a birdie chance from one foot but tapped too firm and lipped out. Next time, I should mark the ball,” said Shaaban.

Leading second round scores

137 - Chan Yih-shin (TPE) 64-73

138 - Harmeet Kahlon (IND) 71-67, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 66-72, Lin Wen-hong (TPE) 67-71, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 74-64, Kim Dae-Hyun (KOR) 70-68, Ross Bain (SCO) 69-69

139 - Corey Harris (USA) 69-70, Apichai Leelakajornjit (THA) 68-71, Craig Smith (WAL) 70-69

140 - Nick Redfern (ENG) 74-66, C. Muniyappa (IND) 67-73, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 70-70, Simon Yates (SCO) 71-69, Pornpong Phatlum (THA) 73-67

Gaurav Ghei (IND) 68-72, Yutthaporn Pongsantiey (THA) 70-70

141 - Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 70-71, Unho Park (AUS) 71-70, Lee Sung (KOR) 69-72

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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 ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore’s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.