Golf: Thailand's Rattanon fires eagle to take second-round lead at S'pore International

Thailand's Rattanon Wannasrichan plays during round two at the Singapore International golf event, on Jan 14, 2022. PHOTO: PAUL LAKATOS/ASIAN TOUR

SINGAPORE - Thailand's Rattanon Wannasrichan saved the best for last on the second day of the Singapore International on Friday (Jan 14) as he eagled the 626-yard par-five 18th hole at the Tanah Merah Country Club to post a six-under 66 and top the leaderboard on five-under 139.

The 26-year-old, who won the 2017 Thailand Open, reeled off five birdies, a bogey and an eagle to to finish two shots above compatriot Ratchanon Chantananuwat and first-round leader Khalin Joshi at the end of the second round of the US$1 million (S$1.34 million) tournament.

He said: "The 18th was playing downwind. My second shot was with a three wood, it was a low cut. I was just hoping for a good shot, and it finished 10 feet away. It was a little but lucky.

"Today I played very well. My shots were very good. I am super happy. I had one bogey and it was a three putt. Every hole was so good. This course is so difficult, very, very difficult and windy. I am super surprised because this course is so hard."

Fellow Thai Ratchanon, 14, was in blistering form too and shot a 66.

Just the day before, Ratchanon, who had carded 75 in the first round, had felt unwell.

He said: "Yesterday I was just sick, I got heat stroke since Wednesday. I was sneezing quite a lot on the golf course, and I played 18 and went to the range for an hour and half and that was a bit too much.

"It was hot, and I always get sick if it's too hot. I was sneezing so much and some of the holes I could barely open my eyes when I was walking. But I had some medicine and slept last night and played better today.

"I am just really happy with the way I am playing because it's the first time I have played a course this hard."

Joshi, however, was unable to replicate his performance in the first round as he ended Friday with a two-over 74.

While the Indian felt that his inability to adapt to the windy conditions and his putting let him down, he is looking to bounce back in the final two days of the competition.

He said: "My putting wasn't good today. I struggled with the putter but overall, I am happy with the way I'm playing.

"I think I put too much pressure on myself as well. Obviously, it was tough out there.The winds were up. I felt like I should have capitalised more earlier in the day because it wasn't as windy as now.

"But overall, I'm in a good position and just looking forward to the next two days."

Filipino Angelo Que and Paul Peterson from the United States returned rounds of 71 and 73 respectively to sit in joint-fourth at one-under 143.

Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond, last season's Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, is sixth on level par after a 73.

Wade Ormsby, the current leader of the Merit list, is in a tie for 10th following a 74 on Friday.

As the Australian is not playing in next week's season-ending SMBC Singapore Open, he needs a good result over the weekend to hold on to top spot on the Merit list.

Singapore's Abdul Hadi, Ryan Ang, Mitchell Slorach and Koh Deng Shan made the cut. Twenty-three golfers from the Republic - eight amateurs and 15 pros - had entered the event.

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