Ichihara Maintains Grip at the Top at Philippine Open

Fri 04 Apr 2008

Ichihara Maintains Grip at the Top at Philippine Open

Manila, April 4: Japan?s Kodai Ichihara battled through windy conditions at the Philippine Open for a two-under-par 70 and held on to a one-stroke lead in the second round on Friday.
Overnight leader Ichihara remained at the top of the field at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club despite a nervy finish for an eight-under-par 136 total. Australia?s Gavin Flint posted a similar score and trails the leader by a stroke while compatriot Ashley Hall shot a 71 to lie in third place.

In-form Chinese Taipei star Lin Wen-tang, who won the Asian Tour International two weeks ago, remained in the hunt after a solid 67 for a 140 total as he was in fourth spot at the US$300,000 event.

Local favourite Antonio Lascuna and Korea?s Young Nam shot matching 70s to lie in a tie for five place alongside Englishman Chris Rodgers who carded a 69 for a 141 total. Malaysia?s Danny Chia posted his second straight 71 to lie in eighth spot and six strokes behind the leader.

Competing under the tricky conditions at Asia?s oldest national Open, Ichihara remained solid as he was five under through 13 holes. But the 2008 Qualifying School graduate endured a slow finish with a double bogey on the 14th hole and dropped a shot on the 16th to end the day with a 70.

?I had a comfortable lead but stumbled to a double on the 14th. I hit a wayward drive and the ball landed on the right rough off the fairway. My second shot passed the green and I misjudged again in my third shot. I then three putted for a double bogey on that hole and realised how costly it can be over here.


?You have to constantly try and make the fairways. I am a bit nervous heading into the third round but I hope to remain calm and play it safe,? said the Tokyo-based player, who turned professional in 2001 before earning his first full playing rights on the Asian Tour the same year. He then lost his card after one season but regained his status for this season.

Singapore-based Flint enjoyed a birdie on the final 18th hole on the way to a 70 as he was pleased to stay within a stroke behind the leader.

?It is always nice to finish with a birdie. I was very happy to shoot a two under these windy conditions. I?m very excited with my position as I?ve stuck to my routine all this time and it?s finally showing now,? said Flint.


Compatriot Hall made a late dash to climb up to third place after having birdied four of the last five holes.

?I struck three birdies in a row on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes. On the 17th tee, I told myself that I should par it and birdie the last hole and I did it.

?I was about to send myself out of contention but I got back in. I hope to stay relaxed and calm off the tee tomorrow and shoot another solid round,? said Hall, who won his third event as a professional at the 2007 Victorian PGA Championship.

Thanks to the advice of his compatriot Lin Keng-chi, Chinese Taipei?s Wen-tang, who started on the back nine, produced the lowest round of the day after a 67.

?Lin Keng-chi told me earlier today that the holes are playing tough and gave me some useful tips, especially on how to read the greens. But under these conditions, I still have a strong chance at the title despite trailing by four strokes,? said Wen-tang, who holed a seven footer for eagle on the fourth hole coupled with four birdies against one bogey.

Lascuna, with 18 wins on the domestic circuit, kept the local charge alive thanks to four birdies against two dropped shots.

?The positioning of your ball is the key here because all it takes is just one mistake to bring your scores down. It has been a challenging round for me but I have no complaints with my result,? admitted Lascuna.

Defending champion Frankie Minoza was even-par for the day to lie in a tie for 40th place where a total of 68 players made it through the weekend rounds.

Leading second round scores

136 - Kodai Ichihara (JPN) 66-70

137 - Gavin Flint (AUS) 67-70

139 - Ashley Hall (AUS) 68-71

140 - Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 73-67

141 - Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 71-70, Chris Rodgers (ENG) 72-69, Young Nam (KOR) 71-70

142 - Danny Chia (MAS) 71-71

143 - Benjie Magada (PHI) 67-76

144 - Angelo Que (PHI) 73-71, Jay Bayron (PHI) 73-71, Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 68-76

145 - Lin Keng-chi (TPE) 71-74, Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 74-71, Martin Rominger (SUI) 73-72, Michael Wright (AUS) 69-76, Chen Yuan-chi (TPE) 73-72, Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 70-75, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 73-72, Mitchell Brown (AUS) 72-73, Ross Bain (SCO) 76-69


148 ? Frankie Minoza (PHI) 76-72

148 ? Airil Rizman (MAS) 77-71

About the Philippine Open

The 2008 Philippine Open will return to the renowned Wack Wack Golf and Country Club from April 3-6. The main sponsors include the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Philippine Airlines and Stradcom. The US$300,000 Asian Tour event is also backed by Crowne Plaza Galleria (Official Hotel), Johnnie Walker, 100 Plus (Official Sports Drink), Srixon (Official Ball) and Pin High (Official Apparel). It is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and National Golf Association of Philippines and supported by the Philippine Department of Tourism. The Philippine Open 2008 will include a one-hour highlights show while the Asian Tour Weekly Magazine show will also capture the excitement of the event over ESPN Star Sports.

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.


For further information, please contact Asian Tour?s Shenton Gomez at the Philippine Open media centre at: +63 2726 8924.