Hend takes outright lead in Myanmar
Asian Tour | 2012 Myanmar Open | Round Two | 04 Feb 2012
Yangon, February 3: Scott Hend of Australia took advantage of his booming drives, shooting a five-under-par 67 to take the halfway lead at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Air Bagan on Friday.
Overnight joint leader Hend, a winner on the Asian Tour, held a one-shot lead over Thailand’s rising star Kiradech Aphibarnrat with a two-day total of 13-under-par 131 at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.
Kiradech, who won his first Asian Tour title last year, shot a solid 66 while countryman Chinnarat Phadungsil (68) and Ben Fox (69) of the United States were a further shot back on 133 at the US$300,000 event, returning on the Asian Tour after a one year lapse.
Jesper Kennegard of Sweden set a new course record with a sizzling 63 to tie in fifth place with former European Tour member Wade Ormsby, Kodai Ichihara of Japan, Marcus Both of Australia and Joon Lee of Korea.
Hend, who was averaging drives of 331 yards today, got off to a strong start, making four birdies and one bogey in the opening five holes. The highlight of his day came on the 10th hole when he sank a 15-feet chip-in birdie.
“It was a rough day for me so I’m happy to get that one out of the way and concentrate on the weekend. I left a few out there. I missed a couple of three footers but it is all positives going into the weekend,” said Hend, winner of the Driving Distance category on the Asian Tour in 2009 and 2010.
“The way to score around here is try and to give yourself a lot of 10 footers. The key to this golf course is to read the slopes on the green,” added Hend, whose last Asian Tour victory was in 2008.
Kiradech, popular for his grip-it and rip-it style of play, birdied the last three holes to put him within a stroke of the leader and ignite his ambitions for a second Asian Tour victory.
“Been a solid two days but I still have a lot of work to do. It helps a lot to hit long drives. The fairways are wide so it gives you a lot of chances to score on the par fours and fives. Honestly, I could have gone lower but missed a couple of easy birdie chances,” said the Thai.
Fox of the United States found trouble on the second hole when his ball was plugged in the bunker but he recovered nicely to stay within touching distance of Hend.
“You know they say it is hard to follow-up a great round with another great round. I felt good about everything. I felt like my mind was in the right place but the putts just didn’t really fall,” said Fox, who mixed his card with four birdies and one bogey.
Playing on an invite, Ichihara sank his eight feet eagle putt on the 14th hole to surge up the leader board. He is determined to make amends this week after losing his Asian Tour card last year.
“Last year I struggled with my game. It just didn’t seem to work for me but I put in a lot of practice during the break and it is paying off. I’m just happy to be playing well again. My short game was really good today,” said the ever-smiling Ichihara, who is searching for his first Asian Tour title.
Scores after round 2 of the Zaykabar Myanmar Open 2012 being played at the par 72, 7218 Yards Royal Mingalardon GCC course (a- denotes amateur):
131 – Scott HEND (AUS) 64-67.
132 – Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 66-66.
133 – Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 65-68, Ben FOX (USA) 64-69.
134 – Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 64-70, Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN) 67-67, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 68-66, Jesper KENNEGARD (SWE) 71-63, Joon LEE (KOR) 67-67.
135 – Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 68-67, Tetsuji HIRATSUKA (JPN) 69-66.
136 – Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 67-69, Masanori KOBAYASHI (JPN) 67-69, Stephen LEWTON (ENG) 70-66, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 66-70.
137 – Martin ROMINGER (SUI) 67-70, Chris RODGERS (ENG) 66-71, Niall TURNER (IRL) 69-68, Ron HARVEY Jnr (CAN) 68-69, Jonathan MOORE (USA) 70-67, Peter KARMIS (RSA) 70-67, KIM Gi-whan (KOR) 65-72.
138 – Tim STEWART (AUS) 70-68, Adam GROOM (AUS) 71-67, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 67-71, Hamza AMIN (AUT) 69-69, Makoto INOUE (JPN) 72-66, MO Joong-kyung (KOR) 69-69.
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