It's Chow Time in Phuket

Fri 06 Mar 2009

It's Chow Time in Phuket


Phuket, March 6: India's S.S.P. Chowrasia showed a welcome return to form as he stormed to an eight-under-par 62 for the second round lead at the Singha Thailand Open on Friday.

The Indian standout needed only 25 putts at the par-70 Laguna Phuket Golf Club to top the leaderboard on 12-under-par 128, one stroke ahead of talented Welshman Rhys Davies, who sank a magical hole-in-one en route to a 64 in the US$500,000 Asian Tour event.

Young Indian Gaganjeet Bhullar is third after a 66 while Australian David Bransdon stayed in touch in fourth place following a 65. Thailand's hopes were carried by unheralded Udorn Duangdecha, whose second straight 66 left him within touching distance of the new tournament leader on 132.


Since winning the Indian Masters early last year for his career breakthrough, Chowrasia's form dipped due to a combination of factors but a new putter has reignited his game.

"I've been practising my putting a lot. It was very bad the last few weeks but it's come good," said Chowrasia, who used a local caddie today after his regular bagman Pritan Sikia returned to India on Thursday following a family bereavement.

"I put a new putter in the bag last week. The old one was a bit shut and this new putter has a loft which is two or three degrees more open. I was missing a lot of putts left previously," he said.

Chowrasia's bogey-free card was sprinkled with eight birdies but none was sweeter than the one on the eighth hole, his penultimate of the day, when he holed a wedge shot from 110 yards after finding trouble in the trees.

"It was good to get that birdie as I was struggling for par," said the 30-year-old Chowrasia, who is the son of a greenskeeper. "My putting is coming back and I'm driving it well. I'm confident of playing well this weekend."

Davies, who enjoyed a strong rookie season last year with three top-10s, holed his five iron tee shot at the par three seventh hole for his first ace in the play-for-pay ranks.

"I was one over after six holes and not really knowing what was going on. I then holed a five iron which changed my demeanour. I went from there, birdied the next three holes and nearly holed it again on the par three 11 and then missed that short putt!. I kept going and managed to birdie 15 and 18 coming in," said the 23-year-old, who represented Great Britain and Ireland in the 2007 Walker Cup.

Davies hopes to sustain his quest for a first professional victory and feels that last year's play-off defeat to Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand off at the Hana Bank Vietnam Masters will serve him well.

"I'm in a good position. I learned that I could compete at the top of the leaderboard which is the most important thing. I handled myself under pressure and played well down the stretch," said Davies.


Big-hitting Bhullar, 20, was disappointed with his two bogeys on the seventh and 17th holes, where he three putted and drove into the water hazard respectively. But the young Indian was pleased to force his way into contention.

"That was decent but I dropped two silly shots. I am hitting the ball well. Fingers crossed, I'll be alright for the weekend. I'll need to be patient. If I can, I'll be okay," said Bhullar.

Like Chowrasia, Bransdon also switched putters, opting for a broomhandle putter after hitting 18 greens in regulation in Malaysia and carding a 74 several weeks ago. "It's been pleasing as I've not had good days this year," said the Australian, who missed two cuts out of three starts this season.

"I was pretty desperate as I've not broken 36 puts for three rounds. Something needed to change. I was hitting it close and not making anything," he added.

Overnight leaders Mitchell Brown of Australia and Indian Digvijay Singh slipped back after rounds of 71 and 73 respectively while Thai star Thongchai made the halfway cut right on the mark of 139 after a 70.

Leading second round scores

128: S.S.P. Chowrasia (Ind) 66-62

129: Rhys Davies (Wal) 65-64

130: Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 64-66

131: David Bransdon (Aus) 66-65

132: Udorn Duangdecha (Tha) 66-66, Tim Stewart (Aus) 65-67

133: Lu Wei-chih (Tpe) 65-68, Chapchai Nirat (Tha) 64-69, Mardan Mamat (Sin) 66-67

134: Darren Beck (Aus) 67-67, Angelo Que (Phi) 67-67, Bryan Saltus (USA) 68-66, Kodai Ichihara (Jpn) 68-66, Kim Dae-hyun (Kor) 70-64, Wu Ashun (Chn) 67-67, Keith Horne (Rsa) 65-69, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 68-66, Mitchell Brown (Aus) 63-71.


136: Daniel Chopra (Swe) 67-69

139: Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 69-70

For further information, please contact Asian Tour's Chuah Choo Chiang at the Singha Thailand Open media centre tel: +667 7636 3810. Also visit

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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 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.