Liang and Nirat set for weekend showdown

3/15/2013 12:36:00 PM
Liang Wen-chong   (Getty Images)
Liang Wen-chong (Getty Images)
Chapchai Nirat and Liang Wen-chong share a two shot lead at the halfway stage of the Avantha Masters as both players look to end six year waits for a second European Tour victory.

China’s Liang, whose previous victory came at the 2007 Singapore Masters, had eight birdies and two dropped shots – the highlight a 25 foot birdie putt at the 17th – in a 66 that he described afterwards as “some of my best golf”.

The 34 year old added: “I managed to hole several long putts. Although I got two bogeys, I couldn’t have asked for a better round.

“I’ve had a good break with my family and I’m back feeling all recharged. 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 had seven birdies and a single bogey as he matched Liang’s 66 and 12 under par total at Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort.

“I played very well indeed,” said Nirat, who won the Asian Tour’s SAIL Open with a record 32 under par total in 2009.

“This is a very long course and I managed to hit the balls long the last two days. I also managed to hole several long putts as well and luck did play a part in getting me to my position today.”

The chasing group on ten under contains Nirat’s compatriot Chawalit Plaphol, Scot David Drysdale, England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Finn Joonas Granberg.

Overnight leader Chinnarat Phadungsil could not maintain his incredible opening round form as he took 12 shots more to complete the back nine.

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 eighth on nine under.

Drysdale is chasing his first European Tour title in almost 300 starts and after his 67 said: "The golf course gives you a lot of opportunities for birdies, the par fives are all in reach so it's been a steady two days.

"I got through the turn today at nine under and expected to be four or five behind at that point after the lad shooting 11 under yesterday, but saw he had come back to the field so that was a pleasant surprise.

"In the pro-am on Wednesday I was thinking it would be somewhere in the 20s under par that would win this week, especially if the weather stays like this and the wind doesn't get up. After someone shoots 11 under you are just trying to shoot as many birdies as you can.

"When I first saw the course I thought it was a bit of a bomber's paradise, it looks wide from the tee but actually it's not that wide and it's quite a good design, quite narrow which suits me a little bit."