Home hero Boonchu Ruangkit kept on course for back-to-back victories on the European Senior Tour when he fashioned a three shot lead going into the final round of the Chang Thailand Senior Masters presented by ISPS.
England’s Peter Mitchell was the last man to notch successive Senior Tour victories back in October 2008 when he won in consecutive weeks in Scotland and Italy but now Ruangkit is poised to follow him into the record books after another stirring showing in front of his adoring Thai public.
The 53 year old followed his stunning opening 64 on Friday with a second round 66 at the Royal Gems Golf Club in Nakhonpathom for a 14 under par total of 130, three shots clear of his fellow countryman Jamnian Chitprasong who kept the Thai flag flying at the head of affairs with a 67 for 133.
England’s David J Russell and Frankie Minoza of the Philippines share third on nine under par 135 in the third European Senior Tour event of the 2010 season but, as with last week when he captured The Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters, the tournament so far has been all about Boonchu.
“I am very happy with my form right now although I must admit I’m a little tired,” he said. “But if I get a good night’s rest I am sure I’ll be up for the challenge tomorrow.
“To win two weeks in a row would be a fantastic achievement for me and one I’ll be going all out to accomplish although I know it won’t be easy as there are a lot of good players behind me, especially Jamnian who played really well today and who I know will be difficult to beat.”
Certainly if Ruangkit produces similar form to his first two days, he will be tricky to topple from pole position. Four birdies in a flawless opening half to his second round saw him to the turn in 32 and while his momentum was halted slightly with a bogey six at the tenth, he recovered in style with further birdies at the 12th, 13th and 18th.
Second placed Chitprasong continued his fine week’s showing with a flawless second round 67 to add to his opening 66, the highlight of the round for the 51 year old coming at the 523 yard tenth where he notched an eagle three.
Leading European challenger, England’s David J Russell finished in style with an eagle three at the 507 yard 18th hole for a 68 to see him share third place with Frankie Minoza whose flawless 65 was the best round of the second day’s play.
“I was hitting some good shots but I didn’t really feel I was getting the reward for them which is why it was nice to finish with the eagle at the end there,” said Russell.
“To have a chance tomorrow I’m going to have to go out and shoot low because Boonchu and Jamnian ahead of me are obviously playing very well. But I’m just going to go out and try and play the best I can and if I can shoot in the mid to low 60s then it might worry them a little.”
Further down the leaderboard, current European Senior Tour Order of Merit leader, England’s Kevin Spurgeon, is in a share of 28th place on one under par 143 following his second round 73 while last season’s Number One, Scotland’s Sam Torrance, is one shot further back on level par 144 after his second round 71.
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