Friday, February 10, 2012


James Byrne made the halfway cut in the Philippine Open with nothing to spare after an error-strewn round of eight-over-par 80 in today's second round.
That was 10 shots more than he took in an encouraging first-day 70.
The Banchory man, pictured, birdied the third and fifth but it was all downhill thereafter. He had a nightmare run either side of the turn with a triple bogey 7 at the sixth, a double bogey 6 at the seventh, single shots dropped at the eighth and ninthy, followed by another doble bohgey 6 at the 10th and a bogey at the 12th. He stopped the rot with a birdie at the long 13th but then fell off the straight and narrow again with bogeys at the 15th and 17th to take 40 blows for either half.
His total of six-over 150 was the limit mark for qualifying and Englishmen Guy Woodman (73-77) and Stephen Lewton (77-73) were on the same mark.

Manila, February 10: Singaporean swinger Mardan Mamat produced a masterful two-under-par 70 in tough conditions to open up a three-shot halfway lead at the ICTSI Philippine Open today.
Chasing a third Asian Tour victory but first since 2006, the veteran tamed the notorious Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s East course with two birdies against no bogeys to lead American Ben Fox and local hopes Antonio Lascuna and Ferdinand Aunzo with his two-day total of five-under-par 139.
Lascuna battled to a 71, Aunzo shot a 70 while Fox scrambled to a 73 in Asia’s oldest national championship to lie on 142. Korea’s Mo Joong-kyung, Filipino teenager Miguel Tabuena, Chinese Taipei’s Lu Tze-shyan and American rookie Sam Cyr were amongst those bunched on 143 going into the weekend rounds.
Only 10 players are in red figures at the halfway stage, with the cut set at six-over-par 150 which saw 79 players making it through to the weekend rounds of the USS$300,000 tournament.
Coming off a relatively quiet 2011 season, Mardan broke away from a packed leaderboard with easy birdies on the fifth and 10th holes. “Going into the last three holes, I told myself that it would be a bonus if I could stay bogey free and I managed to do it. The winds were more, it’s swirling a lot. I was pretty much in control of my swing,” said Mardan.
The 44-year-old finished 57th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, his lowest position since 1998, despite enjoying one runner-up finish. He said splitting his time in Japan hurt his game. “Last year was a nightmare. I played too much golf and I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m going to take it one step at a time.
“I did a lot of work-out during the off season. I spent four or five times a week in the gym with my trainer. I think that has helped my fitness get better. I’m feeling relaxed. If I can stay relaxed, it should be good. I have full respect for this golf course. It can make you happy and it can make you unhappy. I hope I will stay happy for the next two days. I like the way I’m playing,” said Mardan.
The 41-year-old Lascuna has won multiple titles on his domestic tour but is still dreaming of the big one on the Asian Tour. A win on Sunday in his home Open would be the icing on the cake. Three birdies against two bogeys in his morning round left him beaming from ear to ear.
“My driving is okay and I putted good. Even par or one under is a good score,” said Lascuna, who said he was reaping the benefits of spending most of his pre-season preparation working on his putting technique.
“I think I have a chance. I’ll just enjoy the game. It’s exciting. I finished third in 2002 when Rick Gibson was the champion. After Sunday, I’ll answer your question on how it feels if I can win it. I need a couple of two under par rounds over the weekend.”
The 24-year-old Fox was in contention in the season-opening Zaykabar Myanmar Open last week before finishing equal sixth. He has put himself in contention again for a maiden Asian Tour victory despite not being on top of his game.
“I just played terrible. I was sloppy tee to green, made some good up and downs in the middle of the round which was important and it kept me in it,” said the American, who is playing in his third season on the Asian Tour.
“My biggest goal coming into the year was to get into contention more often. It was nice to get the lead in the first round last week and I was up there the whole way and again this week. I’m in good shape. It’s nice to be in the thick of things for two weeks in a row.”
South Korea’s Mo carded a 71 to stay on the fringe of contention, four off the pace. “The course is really tough and this course never goes low. You just try to make a putt,” said Mo, a two-time Asian Tour winner.
“Anything under par is good here. If you miss a fairway, you can have a tough time and if you miss a green, you can have a tougher time.”

Par 144 (2x72). Yardage 7,222. Wack Wack GC course
139 Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 69-70.
142 Ferdinand AUNZO (PHI) 72-70, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 71-71, Ben FOX (USA) 69-73.
143 Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 71-72, MO Joong-kyung (SKOR) 72-71, Paul DONAHOO (AUS) 71-72, LU Tze-shyan (TPE) 69-74, Adam BLYTH (AUS) 73-70, Sam CYR (USA) 71-72.
144 Anthony KANG (USA) 69-75, Danny CHIA (MAS) 75-69, Mars PUCAY (PHI) 70-74, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 70-74, Azuma YANO (JPN) 69-75, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 72-72.
145 Rick GIBSON (CAN) 73-72, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 72-73, Masanori KOBAYASHI (JPN) 75-70, Atthaphon PRATHUMMANEE (THA) 70-75, Elmer SALVADOR (PHI) 72-73, Javi COLOMO (ESP) 75-70, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 73-72, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 75-70.

150 Guy Woodman (England) 73 77, Stephen Lewton (England) 77 73, James Byrne (Scotland) 70 80 (T65).

MISSED THE CUT (150 and better needed to qualify for Rounds 3-4)



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