Kiradech's back on top at Ballantine's Championship

Sat 27 Apr 2013

Kiradech's back on top at Ballantine's Championship

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Icheon, Korea, April 26: Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat stormed back atop the leaderboard by returning with three birdies in the morning to share the second round lead with compatriot Arnond Vongvanij and Australia's Wade Ormsby at the €2,205,000 (Approximately US$2.8 million) Ballantine’s Championship on Saturday.
Kiradech's charge was halted after fading light suspended play on Friday.
He immediately made a quick impact upon his return by firing a birdie on the 12th hole followed by another on the 14th before closing with birdie on the 18th to sign for a six-under-par 66.
"I made a good start especially with that  birdie on the 12th. My birdie-eagle-birdie on holes four, five and six yesterday made my golf a lot easier. I was quite lucky in afternoon yesterday as the winds were not that strong and I knew I would be able to get a good score," said Kiradech, who leads the Asian Tour Order of Merit after his biggest career win in Malaysia last month.
"My form's still very good from Malaysia and I'm doing well with my driving and my putting," added the 23-year-old.
Compatriot Arnond Vongvanij had earlier  posted a 69 to share the clubhouse lead with Australia’s Wade Ormsby before play was suspended due to fading light on Friday.
Ormsby also continued his solid run following his maiden Asian Tour victory in India a fortnight ago by signing for a 67 to lead the field with his two-day total of seven-under-par 137 at the Blackstone Golf Club.
South Africa’s Jbe Kruger, who has one win on the Asian Tour, posted a 67 to take a share of fourth place with Sweden’s Alexander Noren and England’s James Morrison, Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Spain's Jose Manuel Lara on 138 total.
After having his opening round disrupted by rains, Arnond returned in the morning to complete his remaining eight holes and quickly moved within a shot of the leaders with his first round efforts of 68.
The 25-year-old then started his second round on the back-nine 10th and continued where he left off by surging ahead with birdies on holes 15 and 18.
After an outward 34, Arnond birdied the second hole before dropping a shot on the fourth hole.
He recovered well with another birdie on the fifth to move back to seven-under and also a share of the lead heading into the weekend rounds.
“The conditions were not easy, and the pins were kind of tough, especially with the wind blowing.  So I'll take what I can get,” said Arnond.
“I'm just happy with the way I played and wherever the score stands, I'll still stick to my game plan tomorrow and go from there. I try not to have one, because, you know, if you just focus on your game, then it will always work out,” added the Thai.
Meanwhile Ormsby also returned in the morning to complete his remaining five holes  from his opening round before heading back for his second round where he traded six birdies against a lone bogey.
“My game’s in a pretty good shape.  Obviously I won a couple of weeks ago, took two weeks off and I’m now trying to keep that form going,” said Ormsby.
“The Ballantine’s Championship’s a big event but it’s still the same process, it's still playing golf.  I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and see where I finish up,” added Ormsby.
Inclement weather in the morning brought play to a halt again and when it finally resumed after more than an hour, Ormsby returned to the par-four second, only to dropped a shot there.
The 33-year-old, however, recovered well by coming home with two birdies in his last three holes.
"No player likes the stops and starts, because it's difficult to judge the pace of the green and get your rhythm going again,” said Ormsby.
“On that last restart, I went back out and was struggling with the pace of the green.  I might have to take a couple extra look at the putt just to reassure myself that I've got the right pace,” added Ormsby.
Kruger’s affinity with the Blackstone Golf Club continued as he took advantage of his good drives to keep himself in contention for his second win on the Asian Tour which is celebrating its 10th season this year.
“This is a golf course where you need to get your distances.  You can hit a couple yards left or right, but you need to hit it high and that's one of my strong points and that's why I like it,” said Kruger.
“The wind’s blowing a bit harder than yesterday, but I think it's the kind of course that if you're hitting it well, you can definitely go low.  The greens are very good.  If you hit them close, if you manage to hit them close, you'll definitely make a lot of birdies,” added Kruger.
The sixth edition of the Ballantine’s Championship is the first event to be played in Korea on the Asian Tour this season and is once again sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Korea PGA.
Leading Scores after round 2 of the Ballantine's Championship 2013 being played at the par 72, 7281 Yards Blackstone Gc course (a- denotes amateur):
137 - Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 70-67, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 68-69, Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 71-66.
138 - Alexander NOREN (SWE) 71-67, James MORRISON (ENG) 72-66, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 71-67, Stephen GALLACHER (SCO) 70-68, Jose Manuel LARA (ESP) 71-67.
139 - Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) 68-71, Romain WATTEL (FRA) 70-69, Peter WHITEFORD (SCO) 70-69, KIM Gi-whan (KOR) 67-72.
140 - Matteo DELPODIO (ITA) 71-69, Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 70-70, KIM Hyung-sung (KOR) 71-69, Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 69-71, Marcus FRASER (AUS) 70-70, KANG Kyung-nam (KOR) 72-68, Magnus CARLSSON (SWE) 71-69, Brett RUMFORD (AUS) 73-67, WU Ashun (CHN) 75-65, JOO Heung-chol (KOR) 70-70, Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT) 71-69, Berry HENSON (USA) 70-70, HAN Min-kyu (KOR) 71-69, Matthew BALDWIN (ENG) 67-73.
141 - Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 72-69, Lee SLATTERY (ENG) 70-71, HU Mu (CHN) 72-69, Gregory HAVRET (FRA) 71-70, S.S.P. CHOWRASIA (IND) 71-70, Richie RAMSAY (SCO) 71-70, Peter LAWRIE (IRL) 68-73, Eddie PEPPERELL (ENG) 72-69.
Selected score
142 - Y.E. YANG (KOR) 70-72
Ends.
About Ballantine’s
Ballantine’s is the No 2 ultra-premium Scotch whisky in Asia, No 1 Scotch whisky in Europe and the range sells over 70 million bottles a year worldwide. Ballantine’s has won more than 129 trophies and medals at international competitions in the past 10 years for quality, as a result of its unique richness of character and perfect balance. The range, from Ballantine’s Finest to the exclusive 40 Year Old, is the most extensive in the world of Scotch and is maintained by the latest in a tradition of Master Blenders that dates back to 1827.
•          Ballantine’s has been title sponsor of the Ballantine’s Championship since 2008
•          Ballantine’s is an official sponsor of the BMW Masters, The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open & The World Cup of Golf
•          The first Ballantine’s sponsored golf tournament was played in 1960 at Wentworth Golf Club, England
About Chivas Brothers
Chivas Brothers is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard – the world’s co-leader in wine and spirits. Chivas Brothers is the global leader in luxury Scotch whisky and premium gin. Its portfolio includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Aberlour, Plymouth gin, Longmorn, Scapa, 100 Pipers, Clan Campbell, Something Special and Passport Scotch.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. 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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf