Taiwanese trio Wang Shih-jui, overnight leader Lien Chi-wei and Tsai Chi-huang, the only player to break par with a 69, battled through swirling wind and rain to share the halfway lead at the Taiwan Mercuries Masters yesterday.
They joined South Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun and Filipino veteran Antonio Lascuna on a combined total of 143.
Five-time Asian Tour winner Lin Wen-tang of Taiwan, Bangladesh’s Siddikur, Malaysia’s Danny Chia and Kalle Samooja of Finland were a further shot back in a tie for sixth.
The Taiwan Golf and Country Club was swept by sporadic showers in the morning, but strong gusts of wind with speeds of more than 30kph continued for the whole day as Typhoon Jelawat passed off the east coast.
Despite the testing conditions, including a tree being uprooted, Baek managed to hang on and put himself in a strong position to win his first Asian Tour title.
“It wasn’t fun because it’s very windy and at any time the wind can change direction,” said Baek, who shot four birdies against three bogeys and one double-bogey. “It was raining for like five minutes, then it stopped, then it rained again. I had a double-bogey because of the rain, and it was so cold.”
Meanwhile, Samooja is hoping to take advantage of his limited Asian Tour appearances this season.
The Finnish player traded three birdies against four bogeys and believes he is in a good position for the weekend.
“This is my seventh event this year. I didn’t get to save my card last year, so I only get to play in minimal events. I hope I can get my card for next year. That’s my main goal this year,” he said.
On the conditions, he added: “It was really tough. The wind got strong and it kept getting tougher out there.”
Staff writer, with CNA
Two Taiwanese were among four players who survived brutal weather conditions yesterday to qualify for the Sunrise LPGA Championship in Taiwan at the end of next month.
Wei Yun-jye and Yao Hsuan-yu of Taiwan, Jayvie Agojo of the Philippines and Tiranan Yoopan of Thailand all earned spots in the championship after a two-day qualifying tournament.
The 33-year-old Wei won the qualifying event with a two-round total of five-over 149.
“I’m really happy to win the chance and really look forward to the event,” said Wei, who was invited to take part in the tournament last year and finished tied for 78th at 15-over 303.
Yao, who finished second among Taiwanese players in the qualifier with a nine-over 153, said she was delighted with the result and really enjoyed yesterday’s round, despite the heavy winds and occasional showers that disrupted play.
The qualifier, played at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club in Yangmei, Taoyuan County, was affected by Typhoon Jelawat as the storm swirled close to the east coast.
Both Agojo and Yoopan, who carded nine-over 153 and 15-over 159 respectively, also described the course conditions as the “most difficult” they have ever faced.
A total of 23 players, 19 from Taiwan and four from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, braved the weather to vie for qualifying places in the US$2 million tournament, the most lucrative sports event held in Taiwan.
The LPGA tournament, to be held from Oct. 25 to Oct. 28, will have a field of 78 players, the bulk of which will be made up of the top 68 on the LPGA money list as of Sept. 18.
Eight of the top 10 golfers on the LPGA money list are expected to play in the tournament, including defending champion and world No. 1 Yani Tseng. She will be joined by Park In-bee, Choi Na-yeon, Shin Ji-yai and Ryu So-yeon of South Korea; Ai Miyazato of Japan; Azahara Munoz of Spain; and Feng Shanshan of China.