Karjalainen Makes His Move

Fri 06 Feb 2009

Karjalainen Makes His Move

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Bangkok, February 6: Finland?s Toni Karjalainen began his rookie year on the Asian Tour strongly when he carded a second round seven-under-par 64 to take over the lead at the Asian Tour International on Friday.
Overnight leader Marcus Both of Australia is a shot behind after posting a 68 for a 11-under-par 131 total while Japan?s Tetsuji Hiratsuka took third place on 68.
Fellow compatriot, Hirotaro Naito finished with a 66 to take fourth place while Korea?s Ted Oh and India?s Gaganjeet Bhullar are among the eight players bunched together in fifth place on 134.
When play finally resumed after being delayed for approximately 50 minutes due to the heavy morning fog, Karjalainen quickly got off the blocks with birdie-birdie in his opening back-nine.
He continued his birdie blitz on the 17th and 18th before making the turn in 31. The Finn stormed home strongly in his inward run with another three more birdies on the second, sixth and ninth holes to cap a deserving start to his rookie season.
?It has been really good for me so far. I made it through qualifying school and with this being my first tournament on the Asian Tour, things are looking fairly nice at the moment,? said Karjalainen who secured his Asian Tour card by finishing in tied-19th place at Qualifying school.
Meanwhile, Both continued to pile the pressure on the Finn despite not being able to match up to his first round performance.
?I probably didn?t hole as many putts as I did yesterday and there?s still some work to do.,? said Both.
?I need to sharpen up some of the techniques which my coach and I have been working on and I think I should be okay after that,? added the Australian.
Hiratsuka who began the day in second place mixed five birdies and two bogeys to drop one place down to third while fellow compatriot, Naito who is seeking his first professional win on Tour, fired six birdies against a lone bogey on the par-four, 14th to stay in contention for top honours at the US$300,000 full-field Asian Tour event.
?It has been a good day of golf out there and I?m really enjoying myself. I just have to continue to work hard and hopefully, it?ll all come together,? said the 26-year-old Japanese.
After enjoying an impressive run midway through the 2008 season by posting three consecutive top-10 finishes at the Brunei Open, Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational and Mercuries Taiwan Masters, Oh is also among the leaders who are riding on their rich vein of form coming into this event.
?The greens were tough to read but I still made a couple of good drives, especially on the par-fives. I?ve been putting myself into very good positions for birdies over the last two days and I hope to continue doing that,? said the Korean, who recorded two-day round scores of 68 and 66.
Bhullar continued to stake his claim for his maiden Asian Tour title. The Indian got off to a good start with three successive birdies on his starting back-nine and looked poised to grab the lead held by Karjalainen until two costly bogeys on the second and ninth hole ruined his card.
?I didn?t hit the ball that well today. It wasn?t that close to the pins but they were all on the green,? said Bhullar.
?However I think I still played well overall except for my finishing ninth hole which I continued to drop shots yesterday and today,? added the Indian.
Defending champion Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei failed to make the weekend cut after disappointing rounds of 73 and 72.
The cut was set at two-under with a total of 72 players making it to the weekend rounds.
Leading second round scores
130 - Toni Karjalainen (FIN) 66-64
131 - Marcus Both (AUS) 63-68
132 - Tetsuji Hiratsuka (JPN) 64-68
133 - Hirotaro Naito (JPN) 67-66
134 - Ted Oh (KOR) 68-66, Noh Seung-yul (KOR) 68-66, Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 69-65, Mark Purser (NZL) 68-66, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 66-68,James Kamte (RSA) 71-63, Unho Park (AUS) 65-69, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 65-69
Selected scores
139 ? Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 71-68
145 ? Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 73-72
Ends.
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), TIME and FORTUNE (Corporate Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.
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