Lam and Liang keep Asian Tour flag flying at British Open

July 19th, 2008 - 12:06 am ICT by IANS  

Southport (Britain), July 18 (IANS) Singaporean Lam Chih Bing and China’s Liang Wen-Chong, who kept the Asian flag flying, became the first Singaporean to qualify for the weekend rounds of the British Open Friday. However, Korean K.J. Choi, who started out his career on Asian Tour before making it big at the highest stage, was still in contention for the second round after 11 holes. He had a two-over 72 in first round and is now two-over for the tournament and in tied third.

Lam, the Asian Tour stalwart, overcame a nightmarish start at Royal Birkdale when he triple-bogeyed his opening hole but fought back with late birdies on the 15th and 17th holes to sign for a five-over-par 75 and a two-day total of seven-over-par 147.

Liang Wen-Chong of China was also sure to make the weekend rounds, as he added a one-over 71 to his first round 77 to be eight-over 148, which is what is likely to be the cut figure.

However, Angelo Que (76-78) and Danny Chia (76-87) were sure to miss the cut as they were way down.

“It was such a roller-coaster. So many things that could have gone wrong went wrong. I got off to a nightmarish start but I knew that I could make some birdies coming in on the par fives,” said Lam. “I hope to play well this weekend and hope my performance here will be a boost for golf in Singapore.”

After an opening 72 which left him only three shots off the lead, Lam’s second round got off to the worst possible start when he hit a wild approach shot into the galleries. Three attempted chips and two putts later, Lam was staggering off with a costly seven.

Another bogey on the third saw him staring at an early trip home to Singapore but Lam fought back gallantly. He accumulated four birdies against four more bogeys to safely make the halfway cut which was projected at eight-over par.

“I knew I had to make a few birdies coming in and luckily, I played the par fives really well. At the start, it wasn’t that I hit bad shots for those dropped shots. I had one bad swing on the first hole which cost me three shots.

“I actually played well all day and missed so many putts. I pulled it off at the right moments,” said Lam, who is the second Singaporean after Mardan Mamat to compete in the British Open.

Lam’s birdie on 15 came after a good pitch to four feet of the cup while he hammered a drive on 17 which left him only with an eight iron approach to the par five 17th but he missed the eagle putt from four feet.

After missing the cut at Carnoustie last year, Lam said his weekend appearance was a reward for the hard work that he has put in over the past 12 months.

“I’ve been working very hard since last year and I got a lucky break by meeting Andrew Welsford who is now my swing coach. With his help, I can now pull off the shots that I want to,” said Lam.

Earlier after the first round, Lam Chih Bing was walking tall on Thursday. He produced a battling two-over-par 72 at a brutal Royal Birkdale to end the first round in tied 15th place, emerging as the best placed Asian alongside Korean star K.J. Choi.

Lam could have gone lower if his putter was not as cold as the temperatures which dipped to 13 degrees Celsius, but he was delighted with his solid start which left him only three shots off the lead.

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