Ryder Cup teammates Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose played sparkling golf to move into the joint lead of the US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship after the second round at Amata Spring Country Club yesterday.
Garcia fired a sizzling seven-under-par 65 which included a hole-in-one at the eighth, while Rose shot an accomplished 68 as the duo reached 11-under for the tournament.
Rose and Garcia are two strokes ahead of overnight leader Alex Cejka of Germany, France’s Alexander Levy and India’s Anirban Lahiri, who shot the day’s lowest score, a magnificent eight-under 64. A further stroke behind was the US’ Rickie Fowler.
Pre-tournament favorite Henrik Stenson improved on his opening round with a 67 to move into joint seventh place, with a cluster of players including Thailand’s leading contender, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, and India’s Sujjan Singh.
“It was a wonderful day,” said a happy Garcia, who in addition to his hole-in- one, sunk five birdies.
“The hole-in-one was an extra bonus. It is always an exciting feeling,” Garcia said.
It was his third ace in tournament play.
Garcia, who has his girlfriend on the bag, said he felt comfortable with his form.
Rose said he was pleased with his score despite a shaky beginning.
“It was a funny round,” he said. “I got off to a slow start,” which included a bogey at the third.
However, after a birdie at the ninth his game really stepped up. Things soon got even better when he was rewarded with an eagle at the 11th.
Overnight leader Cejka said he had played quite well, but a double-bogey at the 18th spoilt his day.
Lahiri found himself in possession of a hot putter, sinking six birdies and an eagle at the par-five 11th hole.
Fowler celebrated his 25th birthday in the best possible way with a 66, featuring a string of birdies on the back nine.
Defending champion Charl Schwartzel was well down the field in joint 19th place after a disappointing 73.
Taiwan’s Tommy Mou carded a six-over-par 150 after the first two rounds and failed to make the cut.
Additional reporting by staff writer
NELSON MANDELA CHAMPIONSHIP
AP, DURBAN, South Africa
Organizers say the Nelson Mandela Championship has been reduced to 54 holes after rain affected the first three days.
Some players were still finishing their first rounds early yesterday, when rain again intervened at Mount Edgecombe Country Club on South Africa’s east coast and led to a three-hour delay because of a waterlogged course.
The European Tour event had already been brought forward by a day and will not be able to run over into tomorrow out of respect for the funeral of former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Daniel Brooks of England leads after a first-round 62, which he carded on Wednesday. A handful of players still had not completed their opening rounds by yesterday morning’s rain delay.