Natipong and Danthai, who both won their first Asian Tour titles in 2015, carded a 67 and 69 respectively to tie with Chang on six-under-par 138 at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
Javi Colomo of Spain charged up the leaderboard with a 67 highlighted by four closing birdies to trail in fourth place on 139. John Catlin (68) of the United States, Rattanon Wannasrichan (70) of Thailand and Keith Horne (68) of South Africa were a further shot back.
Chang, the 2016 Qualifying School winner, bounced back from his opening 72 by shooting seven birdies against one bogey in the slightly calmer afternoon conditions as players in the morning struggled in the windy weather.
With a new putter in the bag, Natipong turned in 33 before adding birdies on holes 16 and 17 to soar up the leaderboard alongside his roommate and close friend Danthai, who produced a second successive 69.
A total of 65 players will make the weekend rounds as the cut was set at three-over-par 147.
Did you know?
· Chang’s second round six-under-par 66 is the low round at the Yeangder Heritage. It moved him from tied 17th place to a share of the lead.
· He grew up in Korea but moved to Los Angeles when he was 10 years old. He won the 2016 Asian Tour Qualifying School and finished tied eighth at the Qualifying School earlier this year.
· Wielding a new putter this week, Natipong holed 27 putts in his round of seven birdies against two bogeys.
· Natipong won his first Asian Tour title in 2015 at the Resorts World Manila Masters. He juggles between studying for his law degree and playing professional golf. He hopes to graduate this year.
· Natipong and Danthai are roommates. The latter also won his first Asian Tour title in 2015 at The World Classic Championship in Singapore.
· Danthai holed 31 putts in the second round, which is higher compared to Natipong and Chang’s effort of 27 putts.
· The par five 13th hole was the easiest as four eagles, 61 birdies, 63 pars, 13 bogeys and one double bogey were made on this hole.
Natipong Srithong (Tha) – Second Round 67 (-5), Total 138 (-6)
It has been a while since my putting was this good. I changed to a new putter and I feel more comfortable. Today it was only windy but yesterday it was cold, rain and windy! On this golf course, you need to hit the ball on the fairway to get a chance to score.
My performance on the Asian Tour last year was not good because my short game was not good. It is slowly improving now so hopefully I can continue to play well. I’m still pursuing my law degree. I missed my final exams last year because of a tournament so I have to complete six subjects this year to graduate.
Yikeun Chang (Kor) – Second Round 66 (-6), Total 138 (-6)
I putted good today. I holed about three 15 footers. Putting is tough here because the greens are grainy. Yesterday was really tough because it was raining and windy. It was quite tough today but I told myself that I can make birdies here because there are a lot of short holes.
I feel more comfortable in Asia this year. I’m hitting the ball a lot better as well. I had a lot of missed cut last year because my putting was poor. I worked a lot on my putting during the off-season so the putts are dropping and it is easier to shoot lower rounds.
Danthai Boonma (Tha) – Second Round 69 (-3), Total 138 (-6)
I’m happy with my score because the weather is nice but it is still very windy. I like putting on these greens. It is perfect for me because it is almost the same as the greens in Thailand. I want to keep to the same plan because it was tough these two days and my plan worked. I’ll continue to do the same for the weekend.
Scores after round 2 of the Yeangder Heritage being played at the par 72, 7014 Yards National GcC course (am - denotes amateur):
138 - Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 72-66, Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 71-67, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 69-69.
139 - Javi COLOMO (ESP) 72-67.
140 - John CATLIN (USA) 72-68, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 70-70, Keith HORNE (RSA) 72-68.
141 - Shiv KAPUR (IND) 71-70, Gavin GREEN (MAS) 71-70, Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) 70-71, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 69-72, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 72-69, Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 73-68, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 68-73.
142 - Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 72-70, Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 70-72, Brett MUNSON (USA) 74-68.
143 - Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 74-69, Rory HIE (INA) 73-70, Himmat RAI (IND) 76-67, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 70-73, Danny CHIA (MAS) 72-71, CHAN Yih-shin (TPE) 72-71, Oscar ZETTERWALL (SWE) 73-70, Jarin TODD (USA) 71-72.
Published : April 28, 2017
By : Agencies