Young Tirawat steps up in the midst of quality field in Koma CC

0
89
Tirawat Kaewsiribandit - TheGolfingHub
With his second consecutive 64, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit upstaging an exceptional line-up of players from the Asian, Japan and Korean Tours. Photo: Korean PGA Tour

Tirawat Kaewsiribandit carded his second successive seven-under-par 64, helped by two eagles, to take the clubhouse lead in the 38th Shinhan Donghae Open today at Koma Country Club in Nara, Japan, upstaging an exceptional line-up of players from the Asian, Japan and Korean Tours.

The young Thai golfer has won once before on the Asian Tour – in the 2018 UMA CNS Open Golf Championship in Pakistan – but is now in uncharted territory in one of the region’s biggest and most prestigious events, moving to 14-under par at the halfway mark.

Related: Hot putters, low scores mark Day 1 at Shinhan Donghae Open

A 90-minute weather delay at the start of the day meant 32 players were unable to complete round two. Play will resume at 6.50am local time tomorrow.

Japan’s Kazuki Higa, currently ranked number one in Japan, came in with a 63 and is one back, while PGA Tour star Si Woo Kim from Korea, shot a 65 to sit a further stroke behind.

Japan’s Riki Kawamoto also fired a 65 and is 11 under.

First-round leader Richard T. Lee from Canada, who carded a course record 62 yesterday, is 11 under with five holes left. 

“I am very excited to maybe play leading group at the weekend,” said Tirawat, also a winner on the Asian Development Tour.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Asian Tour (@asiantour)

“It is my first time playing this course, it’s great because I like the big greens, which helps me get more confidence. I am enjoying this new experience in the big time.”

He began on tee 10 and quickly raised the bar with eagles on 13 and 17, both par fives. He made four birdies and one bogey in total.

Higa has triumphed twice on the Japan Golf Tour Organisation this year and his fine form was once again on display when he put together a flawless round of eight birdies.

He said: “I am bogey free for two days now, that’s great. The greens are so soft which helps but you must stay out of the rough. I am pleased I finished before it got dark.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Asian Tour (@asiantour)

In April he won the Kansai Open Golf Championship, and in June the BMW Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup.

The event’s star attraction Si Woo Kim, a three-time PGA Tour winner, is lurking ominously going into the weekend.

“I just want to concentrate on myself without thinking about the others. I’d like to play the final two days like today and yesterday.”

Defending champion Yoseop Seo from Korea returned a 68 and is five under for the tournament, while his countryman Bio Kim, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, shot 67 and is four under.