Overseas watch: Kiradech slips but remains positive in Turkey

Sat 03 Nov 2018

Overseas watch: Kiradech slips but remains positive in Turkey


By V. Krishnaswamy in Antalya

Antalya, Turkey, November 2: Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat who got off to a great start on the first nine holes with with four birdies was just not able to press home that advantage on the back stretch of the Regnum Carya course at the Turkish Airlines Open on Friday.

Three under through nine, he had a string of eight pars with many chances just not going his way from the tenth to 17th. Yet he grind it out.

He was three-under through 17 and at eight-under, he was still within striking distance of the leaders at this course, when he came to grief on the 18th. He suffered a crippling bogey that saw him fall from eight-under to six-under and tied-17th instead of a top-10 position.

Yet, Kiradech shrugged and murmured, "Two more rounds to go, let's see." He was clearly disappointed with the back stretch and the 18th, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. But with this course yielding low scores, and the fact he is in good form, he could still make a bid for it.

Kiradech had birdies on second, fourth, seventh and ninth and dropped one shot on sixth before the disappointing double bogey on 18th.

Meanwhile, Justin Rose, who will defend his title at the Indonesia Masters in December, showed that he is ready for a title defence here in Turkey.

Rose seemed to be playing near perfect golf, as he rolled off another 6-under 65 to open up a two-shot lead going into the weekend. That two-shot lead did not look likely till the events of the last few moments of the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open.

England's Tom Lewis fired the lowest round of the week so far with a 63 to get to 10- under alongside countryman and 2016 Masters Champion Danny Willett (65), and Danish Ryder Cup star Thorbjørn Olesen (67) who three-putted for bogey on the last while Rose birdied the same minutes later.

Meanwhile, India's young talent, Shubhankar Sharma was unable to convert his early chances and then lost his momentum around the turn to finish with a round of one-over 72 and dropped to tied-53rd at the halfway stage.

Of the other Asian Tour players, Matt Wallace (70), Gavin Green (70) were both five-under for two rounds and share tied-25th place, while Wade Ormsby (68) was 3-under and T-31st, while Wang Jeunghun (71) was T-45 and Sharma was T-53. Scott Hend (74) was T-74

Sharma, who had a one-under 70 on first day is now even par for 36 holes, and will need to get a couple of solid rounds to get his confidence back and also make a nice move up the leaderboard. 

Sharma said, "Honestly not a very good round. Started off well, as I had birdie opportunities on the first three holes but did not take them. Then I made a silly bogey on fourth. It wasn't actually a bad shot, it landed next to pin, which cut to the back. The ball went over the edge and had a tough up and down which I missed and made a bogey. I made a bit of a comeback with birdies on seven and eight and a had a good chance on ninth."

He added, "The three-putt on the tenth changed the momentum and then I had a short birdie putt on 11th, which I missed. I had a bad lie in the bunker on 12th and made a bogey there. On the back nine, I made bogeys on both Par-fives and that ended my round."

Rose speaking of his round, added, "I got off to a good start again. Felt really comfortable out of the blocks today. Hit two nice iron shots to start the day into 1 and 2. Felt comfortable from that moment on and set me up for another good day."

As for what is required at the Regnum Carya to do well, Rose said, "I think it's iron play to be honest with you. A lot of pin placements are up on shelves, off the side of these greens are a lot of run-offs but you have wedge, 9-iron in your happened. If you get overly defensive, you're not going to make birdies, but you need to challenge some of those tough pin placements to try and shoot low around here. I think your iron play has to be on point. That's the key."

Asked if in this form, the game almost looked easy, Rose smiled and said, "No. Even if it was, I would never admit to that. Clearly I've been burned by this game many a time and you have to keep working hard. I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself, wake up tomorrow and go from there. Every day just try to build a new body of work and keep grinding."