Linkou, Chinese Taipei, July 7: Overnight leader Kao Teng of Chinese Taipei rose from his sick bed to sign for a four-under-par 68 and maintain his one-shot advantage at the halfway stage of the US$150,000 Charming Yeangder ADT on Friday.
Kao, who is searching for a breakthrough Asian Development Tour (ADT) win, held the first two rounds lead for the first time in his burgeoning career after firing five birdies against one bogey to sit atop the leaderboard on 11-under-par 133 total.
Local hope Yang Fei-hao matched Kao’s efforts of a 68 to take second place while Atthaphon Sriboonkaew of Thailand stayed two shots back in third following a solid 67 at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
Japan’s Masaru Takahashi returned with a 67 to sit in fourth place on 136 alongside local trio Wang Wei-lun (66), Hsu Hao-sheng (67) and Lee Chieh-po (70) at the event, which offers one of the biggest prize funds on the schedule this season.
Kao, who opened his campaign with a solid 65, battled through a bout a flu and was relieved to maintain his lead after a round which saw him hit 12 fairways and amass 31 putts.
“I am struggling with a cold but I managed to pull through it. I knew Yang was leading on -10 before I started but it didn’t affect me too much. I just focused on my game. I didn’t putt as well as I did yesterday and I didn’t drive the ball well too so I am happy with my 68.
“I hit only 12 fairways today. That was a big difference as I only missed one yesterday. This is my first time leading the first two rounds in a professional tournament so I am really excited,” said Kao, who turned professional in 2015.
Having enjoyed a tied-14th place result on the ADT two weeks ago, the 24-year-old Kao hopes to ride on his good form and an improved mental game to cap a strong showing at the Charming Yeangder ADT, where he had unfortunately missed the cut last year.
“My aim is to shot 68 every round. I managed to do that today. I will continue to tell myself to focus on my game for the next two rounds. Whether I am leading or not, it’s not important. I shouldn’t care about the other players’ scores too,” Kao added.
Yang, who started from the first, kept up his spirited performance with birdies on one, four and 10. He stumbled with his only blemish on the par-four 14 but bounced back strongly with birdies on 16 and 18.
“I took advantage of the par-fives. I birdied all four of them, including a chip-in from 25 yards on the 18. I was able to hit it close and I made all the birdie putts from close range. I just want to keep up my good spirits for the next two rounds,” said Yang, who turned 26 just a week ago.
“I didn’t think too much out there. I just played my own game. I have been driving the ball well for the last two days. I just aimed to put the ball on the fairways. You need to put the ball in the right positions to avoid getting into trouble out there. I managed to do that,” Yang added.
Atthaphon, 38, marked his card with seven birdies, including three consecutive ones from 15, against two bogeys to stay within striking touch of leader Kao.
“I think I was quite lucky on the greens. I managed to make a lot of putts. This is actually a very challenging course. I just told myself to focus on hitting as many fairways and greens as I can and take advantage of the par-fives out there. I sank a long putt on the 17 from about nine yards,” said Atthaphon, who amassed 27 putts.
“It’s always good to be here in Chinese Taipei. I am good friends with most of the Taiwanese golfers and I feel really comfortable playing here. I shot a 68 yesterday so I felt pretty confident out there today. I’ll do the same for the next two days,” he added.
Defending champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand stayed five shots off the pace in tied-10th position following a 71 while countryman and Order of Merit leader Pannakorn Uthaipas posted a 70 to take a share of 32nd place on 141.
The cut mark was set at one-under-par 143 with a total of 59 players, including one local amateur, qualifying for the weekend rounds.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading round two scores:
133 - KAO Teng (TWN) 65 68
134 - YANG Fei-hao (TWN) 66 68
135 - Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) 68 67
136 - HSU Hao-sheng (TWN) 69 67, LEE Chieh-po (TWN) 66 70, WANG Wei-lun (TWN) 70 66, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 69 67
137 - Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 67 70, Michael TRAN (VIE) 70 67
138 - YU Chun-an (A) (TWN) 72 66, Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) 69 69, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 67 71, Scott SECORD (CAN) 71 67, Rory HIE (INA) 70 68
139 - Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA) 71 68, Martin DIVE (AUS) 71 68, LU Wei-chih (TWN) 74 65, Ben LEONG (MAS) 69 70, LIN Wen-tang (TWN) 71 68, Blake SNYDER (USA) 70 69, Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 73 66
140 - YEH Wei-tze (TWN) 69 71, Brett MUNSON (USA) 74 66, George GANDRANATA (INA) 70 70, SUNG Mao-chang (TWN) 73 67, John CATLIN (USA) 71 69, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 70 70, James BOWEN (USA) 72 68, LIU Yu-jui (TWN) 69 71, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 71 69, WANG Tsung-chieh (TWN) 71 69
141 - LIN Wen-ko (TWN) 71 70, Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 67 74, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 70 71, Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 71 70, Janne KASKE (FIN) 72 69
About 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.