Chopra Enjoys Return to Asia

Fri 07 Dec 2012

Chopra Enjoys Return to Asia

Chonburi, Thailand, December 7: Daniel Chopra’s return to Asia brought out the best in him as he shot a five-under-par 67 at the Thailand Golf Championship to set the second round clubhouse target on Friday.

The Swede, who grew up in India, produced another consistent performance with a two-day total of 10-under-par 134 for a narrow one-shot lead over Asian Tour rookie Masanori Kobayashi of Japan at the Amata Spring Country Club.

European Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia of Spain was a further four shots back with big-hitting Scott Hend of Australia while defending champion Lee Westwood, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Thaworn Wiratchant, Anirban Lahiri, Jbe Kruger and Darren Beck are tied on 139 at the US$1 million Asian Tour event.

Chopra, whose last win on the Asian Tour was at the 2001 Mercuries Taiwan Masters, said, “I've been playing well. I've been playing beautifully the last two, three months. So if anything, my putter had not been really producing the way it normally does, and these first two days I guess coming back to Asia brings out the best in my putter. That's really the only major difference.”

The two-time PGA Tour winner, who missed out on retaining his Tour card for next year, was delighted to keep his momentum going despite a rain delay for over an hour as he birdied the eighth hole to set the early target.


“I made one birdie on the last three holes, so it was good. It just throws I guess your nerves out a little bit, because you get a little bit more on edge, like when you're starting a round all over again, especially on such a short run.

“At the time you're very relaxed, but then after the delay, you go back out and you're just a little bit more on edge. It makes it a little bit difficult, but I handled it well,” said Chopra.

Kobayashi, winner of the Panasonic Asia-Pacific Classic on home soil in October, held the lead for a brief moment as he was seven-under for the day before dropping shots on five and six. He battled back with a birdie on eight but returned another shot on the last.

“I played good. I’m hitting a lot of good shots and it’s easy for me to play during the round. I spent some time earlier this year here to practice. I like this course. The fairways are wide and conditions are good,” said the Qualifying School graduate.

“I don’t think you can really make low scores as it’s a hard golf course. Next few days, I’ll get a bit nervous and I’ll need to keep my rhythm and tempo on the golf course and I’ll be okay.”

Spanish sensation Garcia turned in 36 but bounced back with three birdies in the closing five holes to stay four shots off the clubhouse leader Chopra.

“I’m in a decent position. I would like to do better for the weekend but hopefully if I get a good weekend then I might have a chance,” said Garcia, who is making his second appearance at the Thailand Golf Championship.