CHIANGRAI – Overnight leader Baek Seuk-Hyun of South Korea yesterday carded a two-under-par 70 to remain at the top of the leaderboard on 13-under at the halfway stage of the 14th Singha Masters in Chiang Rai.
Going into the second round with a five-stroke advantage, Baek made three birdies against a lone bogey for a 70 at the par-72 Santiburi Country Club.
His lead at 13-under-par was reduced to one shot after last year’s runner-up Chapchai Nirat made a second straight 66 for 12-under.
Defending champion Prayad Marksaeng (69), Boonchu Ruangkit (68) and Sutijet Kooratanapisan (69) were tied for third on nine-under-par 135.
Asian Tour No.1 Thaworn Wiratchant fired two consecutive 68s for an eight-under-par 136. Joining him in sixth were South Koreas Lee Sung (66) and Sattaya Supupramai (67).
Playing his first tournament of the year, Baek scored a birdie on the second hole but lost his rhythm after missing a few birdie putts.
“Like the first round, I give myself a chance but I narrowly missed many birdie putts,” Baek said afterward.
The 23-year-old shrugged off the pressure of having some big names lurking only a few shots behind him.
“I still believe that I have a chance to win here,” he said. “I’ll just concentrate on my own game. I am confident here.”
Chapchai, twice a runner-up at this tournament, was satisfied with his round but unhappy with his driving.
“My driving should be better,” he said. “Luckily, I was able to correct it when I made mistakes.
“I really want to win here after taking second spot twice.”
Kiradech Aphibarnrat bounced back from his opening-round 73 to shoot an eight-under-par 64 and share ninth spot.
“It is my best performance here so far,” he said.
“My approach shots were really good and that meant I had easy putts.”
After the cut was made at an even-par 144, 65 players qualified for the weekend. Those who missed the cut included Thitiphun Chuayprakong (146) and Rattanon Wannasrichan (149).
In the women’s event, defending champion Thidapa Suwannapura posted a three-under-par 69 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of.
Making four birdies and one bogey in the second round, Thidapa was on four-under-par 140 in total.
Porani Chutichai (68), Jaruporn Palakawongna Na Ayutthaya (71) and Goonlacha Paiboonpong (71) were in equal-second.
In Australia, Nontaya Srisawang made a four-under-par 68 in the opening round of the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters.
She was two strokes behind leader Alison Walshe. Ariya Jutanugarn fired a 69 to share seventh in her debut on the Ladies European Tour. Pornanong Phatlum (71) and Titiya Pluckstaporn (76) stayed 22nd and 98th respectively.
Santiburi Golf Chiang Rai