Kiradech Aphibarnrat turned on the style as a seven under par round of 64 earned him the second round lead at DP World Tour Qualifying School – Final Stage.
The 34-year-old carded seven birdies without a blemish on the Lakes Course to reach ten under par, one stroke clear of English duo Ross McGowan and Daniel Brown, as well as Iceland’s Gudmundur Kristjansson.
There are still four rounds of the marathon Final Stage event to play at INFINITUM but Aphibarnat, a four-time DP World Tour winner, is the man who holds a narrow advantage after 36 holes.
“It was a good round, sitting on the top of the leaderboard is always good,” he said. “I just want to go out there and play my own game, enjoy it and not set goals. I’ve been struggling the last two years, not really enjoying golf as I used to, but to come back and play on the DP World Tour made me more comfortable. My game was getting much better.
“I just want to go out and play golf as I’m supposed to do. I played Asian Tour last week and I was pleased to see some friends. I had a good result, finishing in the top five, and I feel like I’m bringing some confidence into this week. There are still four more days, anything can happen, I’m just trying to play my own game.
Every player in the 156-man field will play two rounds on each of the Lakes and Hills courses at INFINITUM and the Bangkok native found it easier to navigate the Lakes layout due to how he was able to assess the wind.
“On the Hills, especially the front nine, it’s a little tight,” he said. “You’ve got to put the ball in the right spot and yesterday I played and the wind picked up with a lot of gusts.
“It’s quite difficult to read the wind but on the Lakes, it’s wide open. I know the wind is strong but you can tell exactly what the wind is doing. You just have to make sure you hole the putts to get a good score.”
Five players, including English amateur Callan Barrow, share fifth place on eight under par, with a further five players, including 2019 Qualifying School winner Benjamin Poke, a shot further back in a tie for tenth.
Germany’s Nick Bachem, who finished 25th on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca Rankings, posted the low round of the day – and the week so far – with a sublime bogey-free ten under par round of 61 on the Lakes Course.
The third round of Final Stage will begin at 9:00am on Sunday November 13, with Aphibarnrat playing in the final group at 11:11am as the leading half of the field take on the Lakes and the other half play the Hills.