Aphibarnrat joins leaders in Korea

27/04/2013 02:33:00
Kiradech Aphibarnrat   (Getty Images)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Getty Images)

Kiradech Aphibarnrat joined overnight pacesetters Wade Ormsby and Arnond Vongvanij at the top of the leaderboard in the Ballantine’s Championship after completing his second round with three birdies in Korea.

Aphibarnrat restarted his round – which had been affected by thunder and lightning on Friday – on the 12th hole and immediately picked up a shot, before adding further birdies on the 14th and 18th holes for a round of 66 to join Australian Ormsby and fellow Thai Vongvanij on seven under par.

The 23 year old has been in fine form in European Tour events on Asian soil this year, finishing fourth in the Avantha Masters in India before claiming his maiden title in the Maybank Malaysian Open last month.

That was his last outing on the European Tour and he will be bidding to become the first player since Brandan Grace at the start of 2012 to triumph in consecutive appearances.

“I got experience and a lot of confidence to come here this week,” said Aphibarnrat. “But the weather is quite different from Malaysia.

“I was quite lucky in the second round, the wind was quite quiet. I know I can make a score and my form is good from Malaysia. My driver and putter are both great so hopefully I can stick to the game plan.”

Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara, meanwhile, picked up three birdies after the resumption to move to six under par, one shot behind the leaders.

The Spaniard birdied the 12th and 14th holes before ending with back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18.

Stephen Gallacher, who won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this season, was the other big mover following the restart of the second round. The Scot birdied his last two holes to sign for a 68 and will also start the third round one shot behind the leading trio, sharing fourth place with Lara and Alexander Noren, James Morrison and Jbe Kruger, who all completed their second rounds on Friday.

Frenchman Romain Wattel put the finishing touches on round of 69 and is one shot further back on five under par.