The 23-year-old Nirun started his round on fire, chipping in from 50 yards on his first hole for an eagle. He went on to trade two bogeys against three birdies to compile a two-day total of eight-under-par 136 with Kasidit (65) and Poom (68) at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort.
Three players sit in fourth place one shot behind the leading trio at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event. They include Singapore’s Jesse Yap (71), Thailand’s Kosuke Hamamoto (66) and American Sam Gillis (67).
Nirun, who earned his maiden ADT victory in 2015, had a hot putter to thank for his round where he only totalled 25 putts.
“I was just really confident all day. Especially starting off with an eagle helped to kick-off the momentum. I knew that even if I missed the green I could get up and down from anywhere because I have been putting it good these two days,” said Nirun.
Hoping to translate his consistent tee-to-green approach into a victory this week, the Thai will be adopting the same game plan for the next two days.
“This course is very narrow so I just need to stay focused off the tee and keep making greens. If the pin is in a good position, I will keep attacking it like today, but if I feel I need to aim for the centre of the green then I will trust my instincts,” added Nirun.
Starting on the first hole, Kasidit birdied four of his opening six holes before dropping a shot on hole eight for an outward 33. He notched four more birdies and dropped a shot on hole 16 before grabbing a birdie on his way home for an inward 32.
“The course is difficult but I managed to make a lot of birdies today because I was hitting it well. I am very happy with how I played and hopefully I will keep up this momentum for the next two days,” said the Thai, who made his breakthrough on the ADT in 2017.
Play was suspended at 2.55pm local time due to heavy rain but resumed at 4pm. The halfway cut was set at one-under-par 143 with 50 players advancing to the final two rounds.
The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.
All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.
Leading second round scores:
136 - Kasidit Lepkurte 71 65, Nirun Sae-Ueng 67 69, Poom Pattaropong 68 68
137 - Jesse Yap 66 71, Kosuke Hamamoto 71 66, Sam Gillis 70 67
138 - Trevor Simsby 67 71, Suttijet Kooratanapisan 70 68, George Worrall 72 66
139 - T. Kiishaan 71 68, Naoki Sekito 70 69, Kheng Hwai Khor 70 69, Pawin Ingkhapradit 68 71, Leunkwang Kim 71 68, Jack Murdoch 69 70, Shahriffuddin Ariffin 71 68, Shinichi Mizuno 70 69, Jakraphan Premsirigorn 71 68