Friday, May 13, 2011


Manila: Himmat Rai of India and local hope Jay Bayron stayed in the hunt for their maiden Asian Tour victory after sharing the halfway lead at the ICTSI Philippine Open on Friday.
Rai posted a two-under-par 70 to tie with Bayron, who returned with a 69, on a two-day total of six-under-par 138 in the US$300,000 event held at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
Rookies Berry Henson of the United States and Daisuke Kataoka of Japan were a stroke back with South African Jbe Kruger, who finished second on three occasions last year.
Thailand ’s Panuphol Pittayarat bounced back from two opening bogeys with a solid 69 to lie in sixth place, two strokes from the leaders.
Rai, 23, was on seven-under after 15 holes but swirling winds threw him off track when he dropped his second bogey of the day on the 16th hole.
“It was hot out there and the wind picked up later in the afternoon. The wind was swirling but I managed my shots well to give myself a chance in the weekend,” said Rai. He hopes there will not be a repeat of last week’s tournament where he was in contention at the Impian Classic in Malaysia on the Asian Development Tour before finishing in tied fifth place.
“There’s always a huge learning curve in golf and the one thing I took back from last week was how to handle myself. I think I’ve done that pretty well in these two days,” added the Indian.
Bayron fired four birdies against one bogey with the highlight of his round coming on the 14th hole when his eagle attempt from 97 yards out stopped mere inches from the cup.
He was introduced to the game of golf at the age of 13 when he caddied in a local golf club. He joined the national team six years later and took the plunge in the play-for-pay ranks in 2008.
“This is a very difficult golf course and I’m very surprised to shoot six-under after two rounds. Winning on the Asian Tour especially my national Open will be a dream come true,” smiled the 32-year-old.
Henson, 31, continued his rich vein of form after winning the Clearwater Masters in Malaysia on the Asian Development Tour two weeks ago.
He was delighted to be in the mix when he made a pivotal up-and-down par save on the 17th hole after his tee shot found the fairway bunker.
“I felt like I escaped with my score. If I can get my putter going, I will be dangerous in the weekend,” said Henson.
The halfway cut was set at four-over-par 148 with a total of 65 players makingthe weekend rounds.
SECOND-ROUND TOTALSPar 144 (2x72). Yardage 7,222
138 Jay BAYRON (PHI) 69-69, Himmat RAI ( IND ) 68-70.
139 Berry HENSON ( USA ) 69-70, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 71-68, Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 70-69.
140 Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 71-69.
141 WANG Ter-chang (TPE) 69-72.
142 Lucas LEE (BRA) 72-70, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 73-69, Peter KARMIS (RSA) 69-73, Mars PUCAY (PHI) 69-73, Digvijay SINGH (IND) 70-72, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-72, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 73-69.
143 Takafumi KAWANE (JPN) 70-73, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 72-71, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 72-71, Darren BECK (AUS) 71-72, Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 71-72, SIDDIKUR (BAN) 71-72, Kwanchai TANNIN (THA) 73-70.
Selected scores
147 Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (Tha) 68-79
148 Frankie MINOZA (Phi) 76-72
149 Rikard KARLBERG (Swe) 74-75



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