Local hope Lu Wei-chih raced into a dominant five-shot lead on his home course courtesy of a hot putter after the halfway stage of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters yesterday.
Lu, the winner in 2005, posted a second successive six-under 66 to lead over former Asian Tour No. 1 Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who traded four birdies and one eagle against two bogeys for 68 at the US$600,000 event.
Asian Tour rookies Kieran Pratt of Australia and teenager Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines were a further shot back after shooting 68 and 71 respectively at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club in Taipei.
Lu, who won his second Asian Tour tournament on home soil last month, impressed with a 16-yard chip-in birdie on the par-three eighth hole to pull away from the chasing pack.
“I didn’t put a number in mind that I wanted to shoot before my round. I just went out there and did what I needed to do,” said Lu, who leads on 12-under 132.
The 32-year-old, playing on his home course, said he needs to overcome the turbulent weather to win his third Asian Tour title.
“I monitor the news on the weather updates before my round and talk to my caddy on our strategy depending on the weather conditions. I think that’s the key to having a good score here,” Lu said.
Thaworn renewed his fondness for the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, where he won in 2004, sinking a 10-foot eagle putt on the seventh for a 137 total.
“I’m playing good and concentrating on my own game. Lu has an advantage because this is his home course, but I’m going to play my own game and let the results come,” said Thaworn, a 12-time Asian Tour winner.
The halfway cut was set at 148, with a total of 57 players making the weekend rounds.
see Jacobson on page 18