Kiradech in control at Richard Mille Brunei Championships

Thu 08 Mar 2018

Kiradech in control at Richard Mille Brunei Championships


Bandar Seri Begawan, March 8: Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat continued to take control of the Richard Mille Brunei Championship by carding a second round seven-under-par 64 at the Empire Hotel and Country Club after play was suspended due to darkness on Thursday.

Starting on the 10th hole, the three-time Asian Tour winner traded eight birdies against one bogey on his very last hole, to lead by four after compiling a two-day total of 13-under-par 129 at the US$ 60,000 ADT event that was delayed by 90 minutes in the morning due to lightning threats.

Thailand's Itthipat Buranatanyarat, who returned on Friday morning to finish his second round, carded an impressive 64 to trail the overnight leader by three shots. American John Catlin carded a flawless 67 to take third place on his own and keep up his hopes of playing alongside Kiradech in the final two rounds.

Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura and Korea’s Lee Song are tied for fourth on matching 134 total while overnight co-leader Danny Masrin of Indonesia slipped to a share of sixth place following a 70.

A total of 21 players returned at 7am to complete their second rounds on Friday with round three starting at 8.45am.

Kiradech, the world number 36, who shared the overnight lead with Masrin was once again in command.

“I feel really comfortable around this golf course. The only mistake I made was on my last hole which was the only bogey I made all day. I just rolled the ball a little bit too hard with the line I took. I hit it firmly into the right lip of the hole, but if I had just hit it straight, it would have been the right speed.

Despite having a new caddy on his bag after his original one fell sick due to severe dehydration, the 28-year-old was still able to strike a formidable partnership with his new bag man.

“Thankfully Adam was able to caddy for me if not I would not have been able to make it through. Adam, the Callaway Golf Tour Representative, helped me with distances and helped me a lot on reading my putts. But I think his motivational support was what helped me the most.

“Especially on the last four holes, I told him I didn’t have any energy to hit balls and I was so unmotivated. He told me to calm down and enjoy the game and we just talked about other stuff to keep my mind off it,” said Kiradech.

The long-hitting Thai, who is also the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, also took advantage of the benign conditions where he continued his assault on the shorter Par-five holes.

“The course was easier compared to yesterday but you still have to be hitting it good and staying on the fairway to be shooting low. I made a lot of putts today, with the rain, greens were slower and softer, but I adjusted pretty quickly. For a while, I didn’t think I would made any more birdies on my second nine and then I chipped in from hole five to turn it around,“ said Kiradech, who enjoyed a tied-fifth finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship last week.

Catlin will relish the opportunity of playing alongside Kiradech, who is the highest ranked player in the field this week, after putting himself into the mix at the Richard Mille Brunei Championship.

“In the middle part of the round I just could not get anything going. I think I missed five greens in a row starting from hole eight. I saw that Kiradech was six shots ahead of me before I even started. But I came into this tournament wanting to play with him, so I grinded a little harder today.” said the two-time ADT winner.

The cut was set at one-over with 43 players progressing into the final two rounds.

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Leading scores after round 2 of the Richard Mille Brunei Championships being played at the par 71, 6982 Yards Empire Golf and Country Club course (am - denotes amateur):

129 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 65 64
132 - Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 68 64
133 - John CATLIN (USA) 66 67
134 - Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 66 68, Lee SONG (KOR) 67 67
135 - Erwan VIEILLEDENT (FRA) 66 69, Danny MASRIN (INA) 65 70, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 67 68
136 - Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) 69 67, Shinichi MIZUNO (JPN) 68 68, Greg MOSS (USA) 68 68, Annop TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 68 68
137 - Kasidit LEPKURTE (THA) 70 67, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 68 69, Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) 70 67, Jaturon DUANGPHAICHOOM (THA) 72 65
138 - Joshua Andrew WIRAWAN (INA) 70 68, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 68 70, Quincy QUEK (SGP) 71 67, KOH Deng Shan (SGP) 70 68, Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 71 67, Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 68 70
139 - Ye Htet AUNG (MYN) 69 70, George GANDRANATA (INA) 71 68, Sydney CHUNG (USA) 71 68, Joshua SHOU (SGP) 71 68, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 71 68, Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA) 70 69, Thanpisit OMSIN (THA) 67 72


About the Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.