Hsieh romps to two-shot lead at Taifong Open

Chang Hwa, Chinese Taipei, July 26: Hsieh Tung-shu of Chinese Taipei raced to a two-shot lead after firing a six-under-par 66 in the second round of the US$160,000 Taifong Open on Saturday.

Overnight leader Choo Tze Huang of Singapore, Australian David Lutterus, Thai duo Pijit Petchkasem and Piya Swangarunporn shared second place after signing for rounds of 72, 68, 68 and 69 at the Taifong Golf Club.

Local hero Lin Wen-tang battled to a flawless 66 to stay a further shot back in tied-sixth place with compatriot Sung Mao-chang, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines and Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan on matching total of three-under-par 141s.

The Taifong Open, which is the richest event on the Asian Development Tour to date, had earlier been reduced to 54-holes because of the adverse weather conditions caused by Typhoon Matmo on Wednesday. The tournament was rescheduled to start on Friday and will end on Sunday.

The cutline was set at four-over-par with 56 players, including one local amateur, advancing into the third and final round on Sunday.

The 37-year-old Hsieh, who claimed a career-high seventh place finish on the premier Asian Tour at the Philippine Open in May, is delighted to put himself in prime position for a maiden ADT victory heading into the final round.

Hsieh got off to a great start when he fired five birdies to turn in with a splendid 31. He stumbled with a bogey and a double-bogey straight after the turn but recovered quickly with three straight birdies starting from the 12th and another birdie on the 16th.

“I kept reminding myself to keep to my own pace and I’m glad I did. I didn’t play well in the last tournament because I was rushing to finish. So this time round, I thought I should just take my time. It was a very smooth round for me today and I’m excited about the final round tomorrow!” said Hsieh, a one-time winner on the domestic circuit.

Hsieh had been holding the position of a course manager at his home course since 2012 and he credited that experience for his solid round today.

“I can differentiate the grass better ever since I started working at my home course. That is probably the best knowledge I’ve gained! It gives me an advantage this week because I can putt better knowing what kind of grass I’m playing on this course,” explained Hsieh.

Hsieh admitted winning tournaments have not been his main focus ever since taking up the job at his home course but he still wants to win to give back to his boss and sponsor, Emmet Hsu of Yeangder Group.

“I want to win to give back to my boss who has been very supportive and helpful to me over the years. I’m feeling very confident with my game now and I look forward to playing tomorrow,” added Hsieh.

Despite failing to keep the lead, Choo believes he will return stronger in the final round as long as he keeps up with a positive mindset.

“I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday. I didn’t give myself enough opportunities for birdies but I cannot complain. It was still a good round for me. I kept fighting for better scores throughout the round. I am happy with the way I held myself together. I’m hoping for the best tomorrow,” said the 27-year-old Singaporean.

Lutterus, a former player on the PGA Tour, credited the hours he spent working on his game during the one-month break for a splendid round today where he sank five birdies against a lone bogey.

“I’ve had a month off and I’ve been working very hard on my game, everything about my game. It’s still not perfect yet but it’s nice to see some good results,” said the 29-year-old Australian.

“It was extremely difficult to score yesterday because of the wind. Today was better and I think the scores will be a little bit better today. You have to keep the ball in play to play well on this course. Accuracy is the key to play well here,” added Lutterus.

Pijit surprised even himself when he returned with a solid round highlighted by one eagle, three birdies and one bogey to share the second round honours. He had set a target of making the cut for himself before coming to the tournament this week.

“Everything went well for me today. I’m very happy with how I played. The weather helped a lot. It was not as windy as yesterday. The greens were in great conditions. I only missed one or two fairways so far which is great,” said the 27-year-old Thai, who recently claimed his first top-10 finish on the ADT in the Philippines.

This season, the ADT will reward the top five players on the final Order of Merit with playing rights for the 2015 Asian Tour season. Previously, only the top-three players were offered Asian Tour cards.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.

Photo credit: Justin Yeh

Leading second round scores:

138 – HSIEH Tung-shu (TPE) 72-66

140 – David LUTTERUS (AUS) 72-68, Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA) 72-68, CHOO Tze Huang (SIN) 68-72, Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA) 71-69

141 – LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 75-66, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 70-71, SUNG Mao-chang (TPE) 73-68, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 71-70

142 – YE Jian-feng (CHN) 72-70, Jay BAYRON (PHI) 73-69

143 – YEH Wei-tze (TPE) 69-74, Nils FLOREN (SWE) 71-72, Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 75-68, Poosit SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 71-72, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 73-70

About the Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.