Chapchai Nirat (Getty Images)
Chapchai Nirat and Liang Wen-chong, both of whom have been waiting for six years to add to their only European Tour victory, claimed the clubhouse lead midway through the second round of the Avantha Masters after matching rounds of 66.
Thailand’s Nirat had seven birdies and a single bogey in his round, while China’s Liang had eight gains and two dropped shots – the highlight a 25 foot birdie putt at the 17th.
Both players advanced to 12 under par at Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort to move two clear of Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol and Scotland’s David Drysdale, as overnight leader Chinnarat Phadungsil had a very different experience on the back nine.
“I have played some of my best golf this week and I managed to hole several long putts,” said Liang, whose victory came at the 2007 Singapore Masters.
“I’ve learnt to be patient and my playing experience from all over the world has taught me well. There are two more rounds to go and, hopefully, I can be atop the leaderboard like today.”
Nirat was pleased to be top of the leaderboard, but also praised the performance of his compatriots Plaphol and Phadungsil.
“We’ve got many good players from Thailand as you can tell from the leaderboard,” he said.
“Chawalit just won his fourth Asian Tour title in Myanmar and we saw what Chinnarat can do yesterday. He didn’t repeat that performance today but I’m sure he’ll bounce back during the weekend. This course also favours us as it’s long and we’ve many long hitters.”
After eight birdies in nine holes gave Phadungsil an inward 28, 11 under par total and five shot first round lead - just one shy of The European Tour record – the Thai golfer took 40 on the back nine today.
An inward 34 repaired some of the damage, but at nine under par he was down to a share of fifth with India’s Rahil Gangjee and Australian Scott Hend.