Thaworn Takes Charge

Fri 24 Jul 2009

Thaworn Takes Charge


Jakarta, July 24: Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant brilliantly took control of the weather-interrupted Indonesia President Invitational on Friday, completing a second straight six-under-par 66 in near darkness.

The former Asian Tour number one overcame a one-hour weather suspension at the Damai Indah Golf - Bumi Serpong Damai course with a six-birdie round to lead by one stroke on 12-under-par 132 from Australian Adam Blyth, who also carded a 66.

Korea's Lee Sung, who was born deaf, showed a welcome return to form to move to third place in the US$400,000 event following a 67 while compatriot Ted Oh was a further shot back on 135 after a 67 as well.

Philippine duo Artemio Murakami and Antonio Lascuna will enter the weekend rounds four shots off the pace in a share of fifth place with Australian Marcus Both, Finland's Pasi Purhonen, Korean Kim Dae-hyun and Englishman Chris Rodgers.

"Everything worked nicely today," said Thaworn, a 10-time winner in Asia. "I hit my irons close for my birdies and the longest putt was at the 10th hole when I holed out from just off the green from about eight yards. That was nice."


The Thai strongman kept his concentration well as a lightning storm stopped play at 1.35pm for slightly over an hour. He was two under through four holes then but came out charging with further birdies on the sixth, eighth, ninth and 10th holes before parring home in near darkness.

"We wanted to finish the round. I really kept my concentration well and I hope to keep playing well. My confidence is really good and if I can keep doing what I am doing, I will be alright for the weekend. It's quite a bunched leaderboard so I have to keep playing good to win," said Thaworn, who was the 2005 Indonesia Open champion.

Blyth, chasing a maiden Asian Tour title, was happy to complete his round, dashing through his last ninth in two hours. "It was pretty big to finish so that we can get a bit more sleep tomorrow and rest up for the weekend. I finished on the ninth hole and it was nearly dark," said Blyth, who is currently 10th on the Order of Merit.

"I've got another chance now (to win). I'm up there and I've just got to play better and finish it off. Previously I have tried to make things happen. Now, we'll just go out to have fun. We'll see if that works."


Lee, winner of the Bangkok Airways Open in 2007, is nearly back to his best form after overcoming a nagging back injury which curtailed his front half of the season. He shot six birdies against a lone bogey. "Everything from my driving to putting was good," said Lee, who communicates by lip-reading with his father Kang-kun.


"I made some putts from long range, some from 30 feet and the rest from within four feet. I feel I am playing well enough to win this tournament."

Like Blyth, Oh is also on a mission to win the elusive first title on the Asian Tour. He lost in a play-off at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open in May but a 20-foot eagle on his last hole and five more birdies against two bogeys saw him charge up the leaderboard.

"The eagle was certainly the highlight of my round. I finished second in my last tournament so I hope I can keep that streak going. I've been knocking on the door many times. Maybe getting the first one is hard and if I can do it once, it will continue to come," said Oh.

Murakami, winner of the 2007 Iskandar Johor Open, shot a flawless round which consisted of five birdies. "I was making the long putts but somehow I wasn't making the short ones. I think I missed two short birdie chances. The worst was on the 16th hole when I missed a three foot birdie," said Murakami, who is of Filipino-Japanese parentage.

Top Indonesian amateur Benny Kasiadi was the leading local player, adding a 71 to his opening 70 to lie on three-under for the tournament.

Fifteen players will resume their second rounds at 6.45am on Saturday with the projected cut looking at one-under-par 143.

The Indonesia President Invitational is supported by platinum sponsor Pertamina and main sponsor Qatar Telecoms. The other co-sponsors include Indosat, Middle East Coal and Panasonic, and the partner sponsors are Ancora Indonesia Resources, Bormindo, Carlsberg, Coffee Bean, Evian, Garuda Indonesia, Golf Digest, Hotel Mulia, MNK, Pin High, Prestige, Ramsay Health Care, RICOH, Srixon, TAG Heuer, The Flag and Toyota.

The Indonesia President Invitational tournament is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Indonesian PGA (PGPI) and organised by the Indonesian Golf Association (PGI).



(15 players to resume second round at 6.45am Saturday)

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 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.