"Kiradech, Lascuna and Choi stay in hunt"

Fri 22 Nov 2013

"Kiradech, Lascuna and Choi stay in hunt"

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Melbourne, VIC, November 22: Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Filipino Antonio Lascuna and Korean star K.J. Choi ensured a strong Asian presence in the top-10 at the halfway stage of the US$8 million ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf on Friday.
All three players will enter the weekend rounds at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in a share of ninth place, seven shots behind leader Thomas Bjorn of Denmark who carded a three-under-par 68 for a two-day total of eight-under-par 134.
American Kevin Streelman battled to a 69 to trail Bjorn by one while Jason Day of Australia and Ricardo Santos of Portugal share third place on 138 in the individual category which is offering US$7 million in total prize money. Japan’s Hideto Tanihara, who won at home last week, carded a fine 67 for tied fifth place on 139.
In the team category, Streelman and countryman Matt Kuchar are in top position with a combined score of 274, three shots ahead of Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark. Australia’s Adam Scott and Jason Day and Japan’s Tanihara and Ryo Ishikawa share third on 281 as they chase for US$1 million which is on offer for the team category.
Kiradech, who has risen to 68th on the Official World Golf Ranking this season, overcame a double bogey and a bogey with four birdies as he stayed within striking reach of the leader.
K.J Choi of Korea K.J Choi of Korea
With winds swirling around the magnificent Royal Melbourne, the burly Thai stayed in red numbers, thanks to a reliable putter.  “The way I struck the ball, it wasn’t good but the key thing on this course is the putting. Today, I holed a lot putts and that saved my score,” said Kiradech, who took 28 putts, three fewer than his opening round.
The burly Thai knows he must keep his head straight and disregard his go-for-broke style of play on a course which has seen only 14 players remain under par after two rounds at the famous sandbelt course.
“The winds were strong and I tried to keep the ball low. I adjusted too much with the swing and something was wrong. The winds and this type of course don’t suit my game. I just have to concentrate hard and keep to my game plan,” said the 24-year-old.
“I don’t want to force myself. I’ve played great the whole year and I don’t want to force myself here. Hopefully I can sink a few more putts this weekend. It’s a good position to be in the top-10. A few strokes behind the leader and on this course, even if you’re 10 behind, you can still catch up.”
After starting the day strongly with a birdie on two, Choi fell off the pace with a double bogey on the fourth hole before adding four more bogeys against two birdies for a 74.
“It wasn’t a tough day. Only one shot on number four for a double bogey,” lamented Choi, who is an Asian Tour honorary member and an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour.
“The greens were harder in the afternoon. On some holes, I hit it (the putts) too long and some, I left it short. Anyway, my game is still okay. The wind was also blowing. I got a bit unlucky with the winds and it was confusing at times.
“On this course, you never know what will happen. Tomorrow will be an important day. If we can get four or five under, we’ll be okay. We’re only human, sometimes, we make mistakes. But I love it here, I love this course.”
Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines
Playing in only his second World Cup of Golf, the 42-year-old Lascuna continued to impress many with his steady play as he traded two birdies against as many bogeys.
“The course is so dangerous. I left a lot of putts short but that’s all you can do. On 18, I had a chance for birdie from about seven feet. I thought it was a downhill putt but I misread it completely. I’m still so happy with even par,” said the amiable Lascuna.
“I controlled my game well. I missed one drive all day. I tried to keep the ball in play. I didn’t attack any pins. Top-10 now, I’m going to try to stay on the leaderboard. I’m just going for greens and fairways. Just playing safe out there and don’t be greedy with the iron play. I’m happy to get pars and if some birdies drop, I’m happy.”
About ISPS
ISPS is a ‘General Incorporated Association’ based in Tokyo.  ISPS was founded by Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa in 2006 to support charitable causes throughout the sporting world.  ISPS has fostered partnerships with golf governing bodies worldwide to help develop the game at every level and promote blind and disabled golf.  ISPS’s heritage in supporting blind and disabled golf and Dr Handa’s interest and philanthropic contribution in golf has formed the foundation of its wider mission for golf to become a Paralympic sport. Visit www.ispsgolf.com
About Melbourne
Known as one of the world’s most liveable cities, it is Melbourne’s sophisticated, yet edgy style combined with super-friendly people that gives the city its personality. With an impressive calendar of high profile international events, including The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and The Australian Open Tennis Championships, Melbourne is a leader in staging major events and providing a world-class welcome to international visitors.
With inner-city precincts ranging from the infamous city centre laneways to the beachy, bayside chic of the south and eclectic northside cool – Melbourne is a city of constant discovery where fashion, food, sport and entertainment, shopping, heritage, the arts and good living all come together to creative a lifestyle envied by many around the world. Food and wine lovers in particular will be in food heaven in gourmet Melbourne. Eating experiences range from award-winning celebrity chef restaurants to farmers markets selling locally sourced wines and fresh produce.
As one of the most compact regions in Australia, Victoria offers a huge variety of landscapes and experiences within a few hours of Melbourne. Whether its deserts, alpine ski resorts, mighty rivers, great lakes, wildlife, or the unparalleled spectacle and beauty of the world renowned Great Ocean Road, Victoria is all about quality experiences.
Many of the state’s regional attractions, including valleys of vineyards and international surf beaches, are less than a two-hour drive from Melbourne. But with more time to spare, the entire state offers a variety of scenic routes ideal for self-drive and personalised tours.
About the International Federation of PGA Tours
The International Federation of PGA Tours was formed in 1996 by golf’s five world governing bodies – The European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organisation, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour (South Africa PGA Tour) with the purpose of providing a forum for the world’s professional golf organizations to discuss issues of mutual importance and, together, develop and promote the game of golf on a global basis.  As part of its mission, the Federation initiated the World Golf Championships in 1999.  The Asian Tour joined the International Federation of PGA Tours in November 1999, while the Canadian Tour and the Tour de las Americas joined the Federation as associate members in 2000 and 2007, respectively.
In step with global growth of professional golf, the International Federation of PGA Tours announced an expansion and restructuring of its membership in 2009, adding the International Golf Association and additional professional golf tours, including – for the first time – women’s golf tours: China Golf Association; Korea Professional Golfers’ Association; Professional Golf Tour of India; LPGA Tour; Ladies European Tour; Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour; Japan LPGA; Korean LPGA; and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
About the International Golf Association
The International Golf Association (IGA) is a not-for-profit corporation, chartered in the State of New York in 1956.  IGA is governed by its seven-member Board of Directors.  Jonathan Linen is the IGA Board Chairman.  Through its association with the International Federation of PGA Tours, IGA continues its international goodwill through golf mission and looks forward to the 2013 return of the World Cup to The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, one of the world’s greatest golf venues.
About IMG
IMG Worldwide is a global sports, fashion and media business, with nearly 3,500 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging:  IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil, India and Turkey; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Golf and IMG Tennis; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academy; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing.  More information is available at www.imgworld.com  Follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ IMG_Worldwide and Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/IMG-Worldwide/
On-site media contacts:
Georgie Cox, World Cup, PR Manager, 0419334492, georgie@coxmarketing.com.au
Nicole O’Farrell, PGA of Australia, 0439 933490, nofarrell@pga.org.au
Chris Reimer, PGA TOUR, 0432 801 047, chrisreimer@pgatourhq.com
Paul Symes, European Tour, 0466 220 285, psymes@europeantour.com
Chuah Choo Chiang, Director, Communications, Asian Tour, +6012 217 2123, chuah@asiantour.com