GIU - Chan
Second round leader Chan Shih-Chang (Chinese Taipei) celebrates his hole-in-one on hole 16 on Friday. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: Dubai based MG Keyser (South Africa), representing Jumeirah Golf Estates, shot a second consecutive round of four-under par 68 for a 36-hole total of 136 to lie in 10th place in the $400,000 Royal’s Cup at Grand Prix Golf Club, Thailand. Keyser had four birdies and his round was highlighted by an eagle on the par 5, 14th hole, playing at 509 yards.

Dubai Golden Visa Awardee, Shiv Kapur (Ind), shot rounds of 72 and 70 to miss the cut by one shot.

On finishing his round, Shiv commented: ‘‘I was a bit rusty the last two rounds and I was happy to finish strongly with a couple of birdies. I was surprised to miss the cut by just one shot and I will now concentrate on preparing for next week’s International Series-Thailand event, March 3-6 at Black Mountain Golf Club where there is a $1.5 million prizefund.’

Chinese-Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang sensationally took the halfway lead after acing the par-three 16th and eagling the closing hole, a par-five, playing at 501 yards.

The three-time Asian Tour winner, who led after first day with an eight-under-par 64, fired a 66 to lead on 14 under by two from Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn and American Sihwan Kim, who shot 62 and 65, respectively.

Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, winner of the SMBC Singapore Open last month, is a stroke further back after shooting 67, in the second event of the season on the Asian Tour.

Chan started poorly and went out in one over, seemingly out of the running, before his phenomenal closing stretch of holes which also included birdies on 14 and 15. The 35-year-old holed out with a seven iron from 173 yards on the 16th, for which he won a Toyota Camry 2.5 HEV Premium. It’s the second time he has made a hole in one in a professional tournament. He says on the first occasion in Chinese-Taipei many years ago he won a watch, and added it’s the seventh time he has made an ace.

He won the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship in November, which was the Asian Tour’s first event back after a 20-month break caused by the pandemic, but he’s struggled to find his form until this week.

Chan eagled the 18th after two brilliants shot to reach the green was followed by an eight-foot putt.

Jakraphan shot the lowest round of the week so far after making nine birdies and one eagle. Preferred lies were played so it could not stand as a course record.

The halfway cut was set at three-under-par with a total of 66 players making the weekend rounds at the Royal’s Cup.

Leading scores

(After Round 2)

130 - Chan Shih-chang (TPE) 64-66.

132 - Sihwan Kim (USA) 67-65, Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA) 70-62.

133 - Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 66-67.

134 - S. Chikkarangappa (IND) 67-67.

135 - Bjorn Hellgren (SWE) 66-69, Bio Kim (KOR) 69-66, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 70-65, Aman Raj (IND) 68-67.

136 - Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (THA) 71-65, Tanapat Pichaikool (THA) 70-66, Sungyeol Kwon (KOR) 70-66, MG. Keyser (RSA) 68-68, Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA) 67-69.