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BOONCHU’S PROTEGE TOPS LEADER BOARD, TO PLAY ALONGSIDE HERO THONGCHAI

UNFANCIED youngster Jaturon Duangphachoom emerged as the |surprise midway leader of the |Bt3.5-million Boonchu Ruangkit Championship after firing a second-round 65 for a one-stroke advantage over veteran Thongchai Jaidee and rising star Danthai Boonman yesterday.
The 21-year-old, who only turned pro in July, sank seven birdies against one bogey on the ninth hole to produce a midway total of 11-under 131 at the Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club in Nakhon Ratchasima.


“My drivers worked really today. I hit 17 greens, missing only the last hole [ninth],” said the Udon Thani-based player, who is in the star-development programme supervised by Boonchu himself.
Better known to his friends as Disc, the 2014-15 amateur winner here achieved his best result so far as a pro at last week’s Thai PGA event in Khon Kaen, where he finished 20th. He admitted he would have butterflies in his stomach when he tees off in the leading group alongside Thongchai for the first time this morning.
“This is by far the biggest event that I have led. It’s been my dream to play in the same group as Thongchai. I will learn as much as possible from him – but I will be very nervous because that’s my nature. I will go back and talk to Boonchu about how to handle the situation tomorrow.”
Thongchai overcame a sore throat to card his second straight 66 with a bogey-free round in the All Thailand Tour-ADT Tour |season-ending event at the picturesque par-71 layout stretching 6,852 yards.


“Overall I was playing well – except for my putts. I was unable to putt the way I wanted. Maybe it was because I wasn’t feeling well. I need a good sleep to be fresh for tomorrow,” said the eight-time European Tour winner.
“Hitting 66 for two days is not a bad score. The course here is not too tough. Whoever sets up the ball in a good position and makes the putts has a good shot at winning this week,” added the 46-year-old world No 52.
Twenty-year-old Danthai from Phitsanulok also handed in an unblemished scorecard after a second round of 67 for a total 10 under 132.
“I played in the afternoon so it was a bit windy. But after I made birdies on the seventh and eighth holes, it became easier for me,” said the single-time Asian Tour winner.
Thanyakorn Krongpha, winner of the Thai PGA tour event last week, hit a 68 to land in lone fourth with a total 133, a shot ahead of Malaysia’s Josh Salah, Wisut Artjanawat, Chirat Jirasuwan and Thai No 2 Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
“I didn’t putt well today. I am using this event to test my new equipment. However three shots behind the lead is not too big a gap to close,” said the 27-year-old Kiradech.
First-round leader Jazz Janewattananond hit a 72 for a total 135 to fall to joint ninth. A total of 66 players made the cut at one-under-par. Namchok Tantipokhkul, fresh from being named No 1 player on the Thai PGA Tour in 2016 on Sunday, failed to make the cut after finishing yesterday on even-par 142.

Published : December 23, 2016

By : Lerpong Amsa-ngiam - The Nation