Chawalit Takes Pole Position

Fri 12 Dec 2008

Chawalit Takes Pole Position

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Siem Reap, Cambodia, December 12: Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol broke away from the chasing pack to take the outright lead after posting a second round six-under-par 66 at the US$300,000 Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open on Friday.
Chawalit's two-day total of 11-under-par 133 has now given him a slender one shot lead over fellow compatriot, Thongchai Jaidee, Corey Harris and Anthony Kang of the United States as the full-field Asian Tour event heads into the final weekend rounds.
The trio are bunched together in second place after recording matching 134s while Korea's Park Jae-bum is a further shot back in fourth when he posted a two-day round score of 68, 67 for a 135 total.
The day seemed destined to end in a four-way tie at the top until Chawalit birdied his shot at the par three, 16th to snatch the lead at the Phokeethra Country Club.
The 34-year-old Thai enjoyed a blemish free round that was highlighted by a total of six birdies.
"My putting and tee shots worked well for me again today and I can?t really ask for more," said Chawalit.
"I could have even extended my lead if I did not miss my birdie chance on the 17th," added Chawalit who is seeking his third win on the Asian Tour.
Meanwhile, Harris who only got back to competitive golf after a hiatus of 12 months, is pleasantly surprised with the way he has been playing this week.
"I took a year off, got a teaching job and worked in a pro shop back in the United States. I didn't play any golf during that time and only started practicing and getting back into shape in October," said Harris.
The American made one of the biggest moves of the day to finish in tied-second after starting the day in tied-10th place.
Harris went on a birdie blitz, starting with an opening one on the front-nine, followed by two more on the fifth and ninth hole.
His back-nine was again lit with another five birdies and the only blemish to his round was a bogey on the par-three 16th.
"I've no expectations and I?m just out there to have a good time. For the first time in a while, I'm enjoying myself at a golf course," said Harris.
Thongchai, on the other hand, got off to an opening par on his back-nine. The Thai star then ignited his charge by firing two successive birdies on the 11th and 12th.
A bogey on the par-four 15th only halted his charge momentarily as the Thai went on to record another birdie on the 18th just before making the turn in 34.
Four more birdies in his homeward run then gave the 2004 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion a well-deserved early morning lead together with Kang.
The course is in good shape but the greens are very tricky. You've got to hit the fairways consistently and I think I managed to do all of that including attacking the pins today," said Thongchai.
"I'm really looking forward to the next two rounds as I know that I'm in for a good chance," added Thongchai.
Kang who had earlier credited his strong opening round to his good iron shots was left to rue his chances of going further ahead after having to contend with his inconsistent drives.
"I seem to be spot on with the irons yesterday but today I was struggling a little with the direction. It was a little tough, but I?m happy that my good putting made up for a lot of it," said Kang who mixed five birdies with two bogeys.
"I also didn't have as many close birdie putts that I had yesterday but I hope everything will come back together again like it did yesterday," added the American who is currently seeking his third Asian Tour title.
Korean Park Jae-bum continued to put in a strong stake for the title when he bettered his previous day's score by another shot to finish his second round in 67.
The modest Korean, however credited his good round to lady luck instead.
"I guess I was pretty lucky today. There were a couple of shots which I hit into the rough but somehow they managed to bounce right back to the fairways," said Park. "I just hope lady luck continues to shine on me."
Park's fellow compatriot Park Jun-won, meanwhile was disqualified for signing the wrong score card.
The cut has been set at even-par with a total of 67 players making it into the weekend rounds.
Leading second round scores
133 ? Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 67-66
134 ? Corey Harris (USA) 69-65, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 68-66, Anthony Kang (USA) 65-69
135 ? Park Jae-bum (KOR) 68-67
136 ? Steven Tiley (ENG) 70-66
137 ? Baaz Mann (IND) 72-65,Mars Pucay (PHI) 70-67,Airil Rizman (MAS) 68-69,Rory Hidayat (INA) 66-71
138 ? Lam Chih-bing (SIN) 73-65, Guido Van Der Valk (NED) 71-67, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 70-68, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA ) 68-70
139 ? Iain Steel (MAS) 74-65,Unho Park (AUS) 72-67,Sung Mao-chang (TPE) 71-68, Danny Chia (MAS) 71-68,Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 70-69, Prom Meesawat (THA) 69-70,Chang Tse-peng (TPE) 69-70,Gavin Flint (AUS) 68-71,Rhys Davies(WAL) 64-75
Ends.
About Johnnie Walker
JOHNNIE WALKER is the world?s number one Scotch whisky brand with annual sales of an estimated 12.7 million nine-litre cases. It is owned by Diageo Plc, the world?s leading premium drinks business.
The JOHNNIE WALKER brand is the icon of status and sophistication. The philosophy behind the JOHNNIE WALKER brand advertising and the ?Keep Walking? message is to inspire and recognize progress and success in people who symbolize status and sophistication.
JOHNNIE WALKER has a long association with golf. Golf and Scotch whisky are arguably two of Scotland?s greatest gifts to the world, which may explain why the world?s leading Scotch whisky brand, JOHNNIE WALKER, is the title sponsor for the Cambodia Open 2007
JOHNNIE WALKER?s association with golf dates back to the mid 19th Century with involvement in many prestigious tournaments including the Ryder Cup in the 1990s and today across all levels of the game and across all continents on earth.
About Phokeethra Country Club
Phokeethra Country Club offers unique and memorable golfing experiences.  It is steeped in the history of the region. Within its grounds stands the magnificent ancient ?Roluh? bridge dating back to a Khmer empire in the 11th century AD.  Apart from the historical related, the Phokeethra Country Club?s clubhouse also features world-class facilities and affords picture-window vistas overlooking the entire landscape of the course.  Phokeethra Country Club is also ranked amongst the top five of the Best New Courses in Asia by Asian Golf Monthly Magazine and also is ranked as the Top Investment by TTG Magazine. As an official partner, Sofitel Phokeethra Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort, which is the luxurious five stars resort in Siem Reap, welcomes you all to world-class accommodation and amenities.  Sofitel Phokeethra Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort is located close to the magnificent Angkor Wat World Heritage Site.  It offers 238 superior and deluxe rooms including 23 suites and the unique Thubtim Siam Presidential Suite.  As service is the core of the whole operations, Sofitel Phokeethra Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort is ranked in the gold list world?s best 700 hotels, resorts and cruise lines, with 100 percent of services by the travelers in the world famous Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler Magazine.
About the Asian Tour
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 Carlsberg (Official Beer), ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Sofitel (Official Hotel) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.