Thai golfer Chapchai sets record at Sail Open

March 19th, 2009 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon (Haryana), March 19 (IANS) Thai Chapchai Nirat played a dream round for the second day running as he converted the low-scoring SAIL Open golf tournament into a personal milestone with another brilliant 10-under 62 that helped him maintain his overnight lead to four strokes.
Chapchai’s total of 20-under, also eclipsed the record of 17-under for two rounds, held by three players, including Chapchai himself at the 2007 TCL Classic. Others sharing the old record were David Howell at 2006 TCL Classic and Frankie Minoza at 2001 Caltex Singapore Masters.

Two successive rounds of 10-under also constituted a new record as Chapchai marched towards his third career Asian Tour title.

There were two double-digit sub-par scores, one from Chapchai and another from Indian Anirban Lahiri, who followed his first round 72 with a 62 to go to 10-under and jump from tied 96th to tied 10th in the biggest jump of the day.

Following Chapchai in second place in a tournament that has been a birdie bonanza for the players, was rookie New Zealander, Mark Purser (63), who is now 16-under after his 65 on first day. He is one shot ahead of the small-built Thai Wisut Artjanawat (64).

India’s best placed was fourth-placed Gaganjeet Bhullar (64) buoyed by his first professional win on the Indian Tour last week at 15-under.

Four other Indians, Anirban Lahiri (62), Rahil Gangjee (67), Shiv Kapur (66) and C. Muniyappa (66) were all tied for 10th at 10-under 134 in a tournament, where low scores have been the feature.

The cut came at four-under 140 and 67 players made the weekend rounds.

Jyoti Randhawa was among those who just squeezed in at four-under after being on the verge of elimination at one-under for the tournament after 12 holes in second round. Three birdies in last six holes saved the week for him.

Other Indians making the cut on the line at four-under were Digvijay Singh (69), Arjun Singh (72) and Mukesh Kumar (70), the leader on the Indian Tour.

If the morning belonged to Purser and Lahiri, the afternoon belonged to Chapchai.

Chapchai, who calls up his father, Chucheep, a pro golfer on the Thai Senior Tour, for advice, was ecstatic over his amazing performance.

Despite the heat he was cheerful as he walked off the course with his second straight 62.

“I came to this event in order to get good practice for the European Tour events that I will be playing in the next few months. I didn’t know it would turn out to be so impressive. My putting has been fantastic. I made one-putts on the first six holes today and had 23 putts in all,” said Chapchai, who has seven birdies in eight holes from second to the ninth on the front nine.

He then had four more in the second nine and dropped his first bogey of the week at the 13th after hitting his drive into the trees on the right.

Lahiri, who as amateur was Bhullar’s teammate at the Asian Games in 2006, was also in great form. “I was glad to get off to a good start today since I’ve been struggling with my starts off late.”

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