Goya and Jaidee build narrow advantage

4/23/2010 11:26:23 AM
Thongchai Jaidee  (Getty Images)
Thongchai Jaidee (Getty Images)

Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee defied fatigue and the elements to card a superb five under par second round and share a one shot clubhouse lead at the Ballantine's Championship.

Thai star Jaidee moved to eight under par at the top of the leaderboard alongside Argentina's Tano Goya at a blustery Pinx Golf Club, where officials have decided to shorten the event by one round to 54 holes.

Nearly seven hours were lost to fog on Thursday and only half the field completed their second rounds, with many playing in excess of 30 holes in persistent winds of 15-20 miles per hour on Jeju Island, which lies to the south of the Korean peninsula.

Asian Number One Jaidee wrapped up a three under par first round before kick-starting his bid to defend his title in bright but testing afternoon conditions which affected tee shots by as much as 150 yards and forced as much as a four club difference in shot selection.

"I played very well in both rounds today," said the weary 40 year old ex-paratrooper, after playing 35 holes in 11 hours.

"I had a good game plan and also my putting is working this week.

"My irons are also very good and they need to be as the wind is tough to play in on this course."

First round leader Marcus Fraser sits a shot off the pace tied for third on seven under par alongside fellow Australian Brett Rumford, who posted a second round 70.

Fraser still has his second round to come on Saturday ahead of Sunday's final round, while an imposing group including in-form duo Ernie Els and Anthony Kim also have 18 holes in hand and are just three shots further back.

"Everyone at six and seven under still has a chance this week," added Jaidee.

"It depends on the weather tomorrow and hopefully the weather is getting better.

"If the weather gets very nice, you can get a low score tomorrow."

Officials took the unusually early decision to cut the tournament to 54 holes even before some players had finished their first rounds, with a full tournament believed to be unlikely following delays and with uncertainty over the weather forecast.

Goya had earlier moved within one shot of day one pacesetter Fraser after carding just a solitary bogey in a six under par first round 66, which was capped off by a hat-trick of birdies.

The 21 year old was level par through the first nine holes of his second round despite two birdies, but he crucially picked up two further gains on a flawless trip home to top the leaderboard after a 34 holes day.

"Putting was the key," he said.

"I played very well on the greens and hit a lot of fairways. Because it was so windy I missed a lot of greens, but I saved a lot with the putts."

Mark Foster's first round 66 still left the Worksop golfer ideally placed.

Foster, like playing partner Fraser and Robert-Jan Derksen - the runner-up to Jaidee following a play-off last year - improved to five under after a second round 68 alongside Johan Edfors. The Swede battled to a 71.