Easy for Edfors

Fri 27 Mar 2009

Easy for Edfors


Hua Hin, Thailand, March 27: Sweden's Johan Edfors stayed firmly on track to win the inaugural Black Mountain Masters after the second round on Friday but Filipino legend Frankie Minoza was hot on his heels.

Big-hitting Edfors carded a four-under-par 68 for a two-day total of 12-under-par 132 at Black Mountain Golf Club and widened his overnight lead to three strokes in the US$500,000 Asian Tour event.


The 49-year-old Minoza, one of Asia's most decorated golfers with 16 professional titles across Asia and Japan, continued to roll back the years and fired a 68 for a share of second place on 135 alongside Australian Darren Beck, who shot a 66 thanks to two eagles.

Another Australian, Jason King returned a second straight 68 to lie a further stroke back while talented Thai Chapchai Nirat, fresh from a record 32-under-par victory in India last week, and Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul will enter the weekend rounds five off the pace following a 68 and 71 respectively.

Edfors, a three-time winner in Europe and playing on a sponsor's invite this week, was disappointed to drop his first shot of the tournament, at his last hole, after five earlier birdies on the card.

"I played pretty solid and took advantage of the par fives, same as yesterday. It was a solid round despite what happened on the last," said Edfors, who birdied the four par five holes.

The 33-year-old was happy to keep his small army of Swedish fans thrilled with his wonderful performance after two days. "It's nice that they are out here cheering for me. It feels like you're in Sweden. Most of the people help me out and it's fun. It gives me some extra momentum," said Edfors, whose three victories all came in a bumper 2006 season.


Minoza, who plans to attend the Champions (Seniors) Tour Qualifying School in the US later this year, faded on his inward nine, dropping two bogeys in succession at the 15th and 16th holes to spoil a card which included four birdies and an eagle.

"I was hitting it very good except for the last few holes. I think I was getting a bit tired," said Minoza, who won twice in 2007.

"I will just go out and enjoy it. If you start thinking about winning, it goes a different way. I'll play it shot by shot and we'll see what happens. It's a good score today, no complaints despite those bogeys. There's nothing for me to lose."

The 30-year-old Beck, who enjoyed an impressive rookie season on the Asian Tour last year, moved up the leaderboard quickly with two impressive eagles and another birdie on his front nine. Three more birdies took him to eight under for the day but he topped his drive on the 16th hole into a bush which led to a costly double bogey.

"It is pretty embarrassing as you have the TV cameras, who don't follow you all day and then they're there to catch that," said Beck, who hails from Sydney.

Beck's eagles came courtesy of superb approach shots which saw him convert putts from seven and 15 feet at the second and sixth holes respectively. He had finished second in the Hero Honda Indian Open last year and wants to improve on that performance.

"A win will be nice. I have been playing well enough but I've not been putting that well in the last few events. I think I can give it a good shot," he said.


Chapchai, who set an Asian Tour 72-hole scoring record when he won the SAIL Open last week, brilliantly birdied the last three holes to give himself a shot at a second straight victory. "I got lucky with three closing birdies as I didn't drive the ball well all day and hit only four fairways," said the burly Thai.

"Five shots is a big gap and Edfors is a strong player. He can easily shoot six, seven birdies a day on this course but I'll keep trying."

Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng, who needs a top-three finish to safely secure a place in the US Masters next month, left himself with a tall order after a 72 put him in tied 38th place while Jesper Parnevik of Sweden missed the cut after a 77.

The halfway cut was set at 144 with 72 players qualifying for the weekend rounds.

 Leading second round scores

132: Johan Edfors (Swe) 64-68

135: Darren Beck (Aus) 69-66, Frankie Minoza (Phi) 67-68

136: Jason King (Aus) 68-68

137: Noh Seung-yul (Kor) 66-71, Chapchai Nirat (Tha) 69-68, Peter Cooke (Aus) 67-70, George Coetzee (Rsa) 67-70

138: Wu Ashun (Chn) 69-69, Chris Rodgers (Eng) 70-68, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 69-69

139: Prom Meesawat (Tha) 70-69, Artemio Murakami (Phi) 68-71, Keith Horne (Rsa) 68-71, Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 69-70


140: Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 71-69

142: Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) 70-72

152: Jesper Parnevik (Swe) 75-77

For further information, please contact Asian Tour's Chuah Choo Chiang at the tournament media centre: +66 32 618 662. Also visit www.asiantour.com for live scoring this week.



About Black Mountain Golf Club

Black Mountain is the seventh and newest golf course in Hua Hin and was launched in 2007. The course is set in a valley, just next to the "Black Mountains", which are so named because of the large black rocks set into the mountains, providing a spectacular backdrop to many of the holes. The 72 par, 7,345 yards is designed by Pacific Coast Design. The most important features are the natural creeks that run throughout the course and the natural rocks that have been used as design features on many of the holes.  As many of the original trees as possible have been kept and many new trees have been planted to frame the holes. All the holes provide the golfer with a safe route but for the more adventurous player there is a higher risk option with a potential greater reward. The design offers generous fairways for the shorter hitter but becoming narrower for the longer hitter. The greens are large with many pin positions, with different degrees of difficulty, and the course is well protected by beautifully sculptured bunkers. After what has hopefully been a low score, but if not, at least an unforgettable golfing experience, you can then enjoy the luxurious clubhouse and the fine dining on offer.


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), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore's premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.

About IMG

IMG is the world's premier sports, entertainment and media enterprise. Operating in 30 countries, IMG's diverse businesses include: consulting services; event ownership and management; fashion events and models representation; licensing; golf course design; and client representation in golf, tennis, broadcasting, speakers, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports, coaching, Olympic sports and action sports.  IMG Academies are the world's largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class sports training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult, and professional athletes each year. IMG's media and entertainment operations include content production subsidiaries Darlow Smithson Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions.  Globally, IMG produces and distributes more than 11,000 hours of sports, documentary, drama, comedy, entertainment, popular factual and children's content annually.  IMG also represents the broadcast rights to many of the world's premier sporting events and has the world's largest sports archive with more than 250,000 hours of footage. Forstmann Little & Co. purchased IMG in 2004. More information about IMG is available at www.imgworld.com