Friday, March 23, 2012


JAKARTA– New Zealand’s David Smail produced another polished performance on Friday to take the halfway lead in the US$1 million Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open. Smail fired a three-under-par 69, but the bulk of the field struggled to get to grips with Emeralda Golf Club’s demanding course -- where fast greens, narrow fairways and thick rough combined to make the cut plus five.
Smail leads with a seven-under-par 137 by one stroke from Australian left-hander Nick Cullen, who carded a 66 and the lowest round of the week.
A stroke further behind is American David Oh (67), Australia’s Jamie Arnold (68), and Yoshikazu Hazu from Japan (69).
The tournament is jointly sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), and is the opening event of the season for both circuits.
Smail, a five-time winner on the JGTO, held the first round lead with 68 and again looked comfortable on the course on Friday.
“The score was good but I didn’t play as well as yesterday," said the 41 year old.
"I did not strike it as good although I hit a lot of good shots and had a few bad ones as well," he added. "Maybe there was a lack of concentration at times. I wasn’t quite as focused as yesterday."
The lanky Kiwi’s last tournament was in December last year, but he made five birdies and two bogeys to put himself on the threshold of a first victory since winning two titles in Japan in 2005.
"It would be nice to win again as it has been a while," he said.
"I have been knocking on the door quite a bit with a few seconds and thirds a few years ago. It would be nice to get one that is for sure,” added the six-time World Cup player.
Unheralded Cullen recorded an unblemished bogey-free round with two birdies on the front side and four on the inward half.
“I struck it pretty well today. I hit 14 fairways and 15 greens and I just kept it in play,” said the 27-year-old.
The Australian had three months out of the game last year with a back injury but says he has worked hard to get his game back into shape.
“I am normally a very straight hitter and that is very important around here," said Cullen.
"I was in the rough three or four times yesterday and you just can’t hit it when you get in there, but I kept it in play today."
That said, Cullen felt he left a few putts on the tricky greens.
"The longest putt I holed was a 10 footer,” he said.
Earlier this year Cullen quailed for the Open Championship after making it through international qualifying on home soil.
“I can’t wait. I am trying not to think about it too much," he said.
"I have 10 events before that so I don’t want to base everything around that. It is going to be an amazing experience and I am really looking forward to it.”
Japanese star Hiroyuki Fujita, an 11 time winner on the JGTO, came in with a 71 and is four off the lead.
China’s Liang Wenchong, the 2010 OneAsia Order of Merit winner and three-time winner on the circuit, shot a 73 and is five back.
Indonesia’s top golfer Rory Hie, who finished second in this event last year, carded a 70 and is one under for the tournament.
“I got lucky," said the home town favourite. "I had a problem with my left foot yesterday and I was afraid I would not be able to continue to play as it felt kind of strained.”
Defending champion Thaworn Wiratchant from Thailand returned a 71 and is two over.Japan’s Shingo Katayama, the five-time winner of the JGTO Money List title, retired at the start of the day with a back injury.
Par 144 (2x72)
137 David Smail (NZL) 68 69
138 Nick Cullen (AUS) 72 66
139 David Oh (USA) 72 67, Jamie Arnold (AUS) 71 68, Yoshikazu Haku (JPN) 70 69
140 Kim Meen-whee (KOR) 70 70
141 Hu Mu (CHN) 73 68, Hiroyuki Fujita (JPN) 70 71, Satoshi Tomiyama (JPN) 71 70, Scott Arnold (AUS) 72 69
142 Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 74 68, Stephen Leaney (AUS) 72 70, Liang Wenchong (CHN) 69 73, Masaya Tomida (JPN) 72 70
143 Daniel Fox (AUS) 73 70, Rory Hie (INA) 73 70, Mamo Osanai (JPN) 71 72, Park Eun-shin (KOR) 74 69, Ryan Haller (AUS) 73 70, Kazuhiro Yamashita (JPN) 70 73, Jay Choi (US) 71 72, Naoto Nakanishi (JPN) 72 71



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