Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, December 23: Young Thai Jaturon Duangphaichoom snatched the limelight when he signed for a solid six-under-par 65 to grab the halfway lead by one shot at the season-ending Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on Friday.
The 21-year-old Jaturon sank seven birdies against a bogey to sit atop the leaderboard on 11-under-par 132 total while countrymen Danthai Boonma and Thongchai Jaidee, who is chasing for a win to break into world’s top-50 and qualify for the 2017 Masters Tournament, shared second place following respective rounds of 67 and 66.
One-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner Thanyakon Khrongpha of Thailand returned with a 68 to trail by two in fourth place. Home favourite Kiradech Aphibarnrat matched his efforts of the day to tie in fifth place on 134 at the picturesque Rancho Charnvee Resorts and Country Club.
Overnight leader Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand slipped four shots off the pace to tied-ninth position following a 72 while defending champion and compatriot Phachara Khongwatmai battled to a 70 to tie in 24th place on 138 at the 3,500,000 Baht (approx. US$100,114) event.
Malaysia’s Gavin Green, ranked second on the money list, kept up his chase for the 2016 ADT Order of Merit crown when he produced a flawless round highlighted by five birdies to move within five shots off the lead in tied-14th place on 136.
Jaturon, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in July, credited his past experiences and results from the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship for his solid display. He emerged as the best amateur when he finished tied-36th and tied-51st respectively in the first two editions.
“This course suits my game. Winning the top amateur in the last two editions gave me a lot of confidence. This is my first time leading. I will go and speak to Boonchu and see what I should do tomorrow,” said Jaturon, who trains with the Singha Academy under the guidance of tournament host Boonchu Ruangkit, a five-time Asian Tour winner.
Thongchai, currently ranked 52nd in the world, lamented a cold putter but took it in his stride as he keeps his Masters bid alive in the ADT season finale.
“I shot the same score but I feel like I didn’t hit it as good today. I missed a lot of fairways but my iron-play was good. I could have scored better if I can hole some putts. My putting was not my normal game today. The greens are very tricky here. If you miss it on the wrong side, it is very difficult,” said the 47-year-old Thongchai.
Green, who opened his campaign with a 70, knows that patience will be the key should he wish to continue his solid run in the next two rounds. He needs at least a top-six finish to become the second Malaysian following Nicholas Fung in 2013 to with the ADT Order of Merit.
“I was more patient today. I managed myself better and I was able to sink some putts. I made a 45-footer for birdie on ninth. Overall, I played solid. It was nice to play with Prayad too. He’s a very experienced player,” said Green, a two-time winner on the ADT this season.
“You got to learn that some of these good players make mistakes on the course too. You cannot be too carried away when things don’t go right. It’s good to see how they deal with the mistakes,” added the 21-year-old Malaysian.
A total of 66 players made the halfway cut set at one-under-par 141 at the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship, which is celebrating its third edition in two years on the ADT this week.
The Boonchu Ruangkit Championship will award a total of nine Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points to the winner, given the strength of field.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading second round scores:
131 - Jaturon DUANGPHAICHOOM (THA) 66 65
132 - Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 66 66, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 65 67
133 - Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 65 68
134 - Josh SALAH (USA) 66 68, Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 68 66, Chirat JIRASUWAN (THA) 66 68, Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 66 68
135 - Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 68 67, Tap CHANACHOK (THA) 70 65, Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 68 67, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 63 72, Raththee SIRITHANAKUNSAK (THA) 67 68
136 - Kevin TECHAKANOKBOON (THA) 68 68, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 70 66, Gavin GREEN (MAS) 70 66, James BYRNE (SCO) 70 66, Lerpong SITTHIWONG (THA) 67 69
137 - Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 73 64, John JACKSON (USA) 70 67, Thepbadin AMARANAN (THA) 70 67, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 71 66, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 71 66
138 - Porameth SONTHIRATI (THA) 68 70, Nutdanai NUANGJAKNIN (THA) 72 66, Taiki HARA (THA) 70 68, Udorn DUANGDECHA (THA) 65 73, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 68 70, Janne KASKE (FIN) 69 69, Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 68 70
139 - Irfan YUSOFF (MAS) 69 70, John Michael O’TOOLE (USA) 71 68, Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA) 67 72, Sam CYR (USA) 70 69, Ye Htet AUNG (MYN) 69 70, Natthapong NIYOMCHON (THA) 68 71, Bandit CHAISUK (THA) 69 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.