Friday, December 12, 2008

Pride before fall for Rhys Davies (75)
in Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open

Welsh rookie Rhys Davies fell from the sublime to the ridiculous on the second day of the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open. He followed up his leading score of 64 with a three-over-par 75 to crash down the field.
Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol broke away from the chasing pack to take the outright lead after posting a second round six-under-par 66.
Chawalit’s two-day total of 11-under-par 133 has now given him a slender one shot lead over fellow compatriot, Thongchai Jaidee, Corey Harris and Anthony Kang of the United States as the full-field Asian Tour event heads into the final weekend rounds.
The trio are bunched together in second place after recording matching 134s while Korea’s Park Jae-bum is a further shot back in fourth when he posted a two-day round score of 68, 67 for a 135 total.
The day seemed destined to end in a four-way tie at the top until Chawalit birdied his shot at the par three, 16th to snatch the lead at the Phokeethra Country Club.
The 34-year-old Thai enjoyed a blemish free round that was highlighted by a total of six birdies.
“My putting and tee shots worked well for me again today and I can’t really ask for more,” said Chawalit.
“I could have even extended my lead if I did not miss my birdie chance on the 17th,” added Chawalit who is seeking his third win on the Asian Tour.
Meanwhile, Harris who only got back to competitive golf after a hiatus of 12 months, is pleasantly surprised with the way he has been playing this week.
“I took a year off, got a teaching job and worked in a pro shop back in the United States. I didn’t play any golf during that time and only started practicing and getting back into shape in October,” said Harris.
The American made one of the biggest moves of the day to finish in tied-second after starting the day in tied-10th place.
Harris went on a birdie blitz, starting with an opening one on the front-nine, followed by two more on the fifth and ninth hole.
His back-nine was again lit with another five birdies and the only blemish to his round was a bogey on the par-three 16th.
“I’ve no expectations and I’m just out there to have a good time. For the first time in a while, I’m enjoying myself at a golf course,” said Harris.
Thongchai, on the other hand, got off to an opening par on his back-nine. The Thai star then ignited his charge by firing two successive birdies on the 11th and 12th.
A bogey on the par-four 15th only halted his charge momentarily as the Thai went on to record another birdie on the 18th just before making the turn in 34.
Four more birdies in his homeward run then gave the 2004 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion a well-deserved early morning lead together with Kang.
“The course is in good shape but the greens are very tricky. You’ve got to hit the fairways consistently and I think I managed to do all of that including attacking the pins today,” said Thongchai
“I’m really looking forward to the next two rounds as I know that I’m in for a good chance,” added Thongchai.
Kang who had earlier credited his strong opening round to his good iron shots was left to rue his chances of going further ahead after having to contend with his inconsistent drives.
“I seem to be spot on with the irons yesterday but today I was struggling a little with the direction. It was a little tough, but I’m happy that my good putting made up for a lot of it,” said Kang who mixed five birdies with two bogeys.
“I also didn’t have as many close birdie putts that I had yesterday but I hope everything will come back together again like it did yesterday,” added the American who is currently seeking his third Asian Tour title.
Korean Park Jae-bum continued to put in a strong stake for the title when he bettered his previous day’s score by another shot to finish his second round in 67.
The modest Korean, however credited his good round to lady luck instead.
“I guess I was pretty lucky today. There were a couple of shots which I hit into the rough but somehow they managed to bounce right back to the fairways,” said Park. “I just hope lady luck continues to shine on me.”
Park’s fellow compatriot Park Jun-won, meanwhile was disqualified for signing the wrong score card.
The cut has been set at even-par 144 with a total of 67 players making it into the weekend rounds.

Par 144 (2 x 72)
133 Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 67-66
134 Corey Harris (USA) 69-65, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 68-66, Anthony Kang (USA) 65-69
135 Park Jae-bum (KOR) 68-67
136 Steven Tiley (ENG) 70-66
137 Baaz Mann (IND) 72-65, Mars Pucay (PHI) 70-67, Airil Rizman (MAS) 68-69, Rory Hidayat (INA) 66-71
138 Lam Chih-bing (SIN) 73-65, Guido Van Der Valk (NED) 71-67, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 70-68, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA ) 68-70
139 Iain Steel (MAS) 74-65, Unho Park (AUS) 72-67, Sung Mao-chang (TPE) 71-68, Danny Chia (MAS) 71-68, Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 70-69, Prom Meesawat (THA) 69-70, Chang Tse-peng (TPE) 69-70, Gavin Flint (AUS) 68-71, Rhys Davies(WAL) 64-75



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