Taichi Kho’s dream debut as a professional in an Asian Tour event at the Hong Kong Golf Club (HKGC), his home course, continued today when he took the second round-lead in the US$1million World City Championship presented by the Hong Kong Golf Club.
The 22 year old brilliantly fired his second-successive six-under-par 64 to lead by two from Filipino Miguel Tabuena, the first-round leader, who shot 67, and winner of last week’s The DGC Open presented by Mastercard.
New Zealand’s Michael Hendry is in third place, four behind Kho, after returning a 64.
Kho, a member of the HKGC since January who was unveiled this week as their ambassador, is 12 under and now has an outstanding opportunity to become the first player from Hong Kong to win on the Asian Tour – which would be especially significant as this event is the first international golf tournament in Hong Kong, China for 38 months.
Notre Dame graduate Kho played flawless bogey-free golf making two birdies on the front before four more on the second half, including one on the famous par-four 18th.
“Yeah, just a really great round of golf and I putted really well today,” said Kho, whose father is from Hong Kong and mother Japanese.
“And you know like I said yesterday, I’m just gonna go out there and try my best on every shot and that’s exactly what I did. And I was able to roll a few putts in and it added up to a total of 64, so very happy with the day.”
He graduated at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, in 24th place, made it through to the weekend in the two Tour events he played after that, and after another fine round today showed he is clearly revelling playing at this level.
Although appearing outwardly very calm he admitted there have been plenty of nerves over the first two days.
He said: “Yeah, I mean, I felt it a little more today, but overall, I feel like I did a really good job of just kind of being in my own bubble and focusing on myself, and felt like it was just myself and the golf ball out there today. So yeah, I’m just gonna try and tap into that tomorrow.”
Tabuena, who led with a 63 yesterday, impressively recovered from a double bogey on his opening hole.
“It was great, I was proud of the way I fought,” said the 28 year old.
“I didn’t get off to a good start, a bit of an errant drive again on the 11th hole [he started on the back nine], pulled it and had to take an unplayable. But told myself that there’s a lot of holes left, there’s two more days left, you know there’s no need to panic or there’s no need to be worried. You know you’ve been playing well and just got to keep patient and just trot along.”
The Filipino admits to not being far away from playing his best golf.
He added: “I believe I’m pretty close, like I said, I have a lot of confidence. But you also gotta learn how to control it right? Especially on this course you know, it’s very easy to be overconfident. So, just gotta stick to my routine, stick to my game plan and I know that if I do that, I will have a shot on the back nine on Sunday.”
Korean Yoseop Seo returned a 64 and is solo fourth, five back from Kho.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond (67) and Suradit Yongcharoenchai (68) are a further stroke back along with Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent (67).
Australia’s Wade Ormsby, winner of the International Series Thailand two weeks ago and a two-time Hong Kong Open champion at HKGC, shot a 70 and is one under.
England’s Ian Poulter, the Hong Kong Open winner here in 2010, carded a 72 to finish on even par which was the cut mark.
The tournament also has the honour of being part of The Open Qualifying Series, with the leading four players not otherwise exempt earning a place in The Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in July.
Scores after round 2 of the The World City Championship being played at the par 70, 6710 Yards Hong Kong GC course (am – denotes amateur):
128 – Taichi Kho (HKG) 64-64.
130 – Miguel Tabuena (PHI) 63-67.
132 – Michael Hendry (NZL) 68-64.
133 – Yoseop Seo (KOR) 69-64.
134 – Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 67-67, Kieran Vincent (ZIM) 67-67, Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 66-68.
135 – Travis Smyth (AUS) 69-66, Sarit Suwannarut (THA) 68-67, Mingyu Cho (KOR) 67-68, S. Chikkarangappa (IND) 66-69, Pawin Ingkhapradit (THA) 68-67, Settee Prakongvech (THA) 68-67.
136 – Deyen Lawson (AUS) 69-67, Ding Wenyi (am, CHN) 70-66, Lee Chieh-po (TPE) 69-67, Berry Henson (USA) 67-69, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 68-68, Brett Coletta (AUS) 69-67, Prom Meesawat (THA) 71-65, Micah Lauren Shin (USA) 69-67, Scott Hend (AUS) 65-71.
137 – Ian Snyman (RSA) 66-71, Shahriffuddin Ariffin (MAS) 70-67, S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND) 70-67, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 71-66, Matthew Cheung (HKG) 71-66, Zach Murray (AUS) 71-66, Kevin Yuan (AUS) 66-71, Bio Kim (KOR) 68-69, Steve Lewton (ENG) 69-68, Ye Wocheng (CHN) 67-70, Sam Brazel (AUS) 70-67, John Lyras (AUS) 67-70, Dodge Kemmer (USA) 71-66.
138 – Ben Leong (MAS) 72-66, Todd Sinnott (AUS) 70-68, Shiv Kapur (IND) 71-67, Seungtaek Lee (KOR) 67-71, Michael Maguire (USA) 68-70, Ben Campbell (NZL) 67-71, Andrew Martin (AUS) 73-65, Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 68-70, Veer Ahlawat (IND) 71-67, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 69-69, Chang Wei-lun (TPE) 68-70, Honey Baisoya (IND) 69-69.
139 – Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA) 71-68, David Drysdale (SCO) 69-70, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 68-71, Bjorn Hellgren (SWE) 71-68, Natipong Srithong (THA) 71-68, Minkyu Kim (KOR) 67-72, Wu Sho-wai (am, HKG) 70-69, Karandeep Kochhar (IND) 69-70, Thomas Power Horan (AUS) 71-68, Wade Ormsby (AUS) 69-70, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 70-69, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 69-70, Suteepat Prateeptienchai (THA) 68-71, Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 72-67.
140 – Liu Yanwei (CHN) 68-72, Lloyd Jefferson Go (PHI) 72-68, Gunn Charoenkul (THA) 71-69, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 73-67, Terrence Ng (HKG) 70-70, Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (THA) 71-69, Danthai Boonma (THA) 76-64, Ian Poulter (ENG) 68-72, Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 75-65, Hanmil Jung (KOR) 67-73.
141 – Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 74-67, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 74-67, Poom Saksansin (THA) 70-71, Hung Chien-yao (TPE) 73-68, Turk Pettit (USA) 69-72, Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 75-66, Taehoon Ok (KOR) 71-70, Bai Zhengkai (CHN) 70-71, Li Haotong (CHN) 71-70, Yonggu Shin (CAN) 74-67.
142 – Chen Guxin (CHN) 73-69, Kosuke Hamamoto (THA) 70-72, Miguel Carballo (ARG) 72-70, Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA) 71-71, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 73-69, Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) 70-72.
143 – Shergo Al Kurdi (JOR) 73-70, Taehee Lee (KOR) 73-70, Naraajie E. Ramadhanputra (INA) 73-70, Isaac Lam (am, HKG) 70-73, James Gill (am, NZL) 73-70, Jack Thompson (AUS) 69-74.
144 – Hak Shun Yat (HKG) 74-70, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 69-75, Viraj Madappa (IND) 73-71, Ryo Hisatsune (JPN) 69-75, Ratchanon Chantananuwat (am, THA) 75-69, Panuphol Pittayarat (THA) 72-72, Sangpil Yoon (KOR) 70-74.
145 – Jinho Choi (KOR) 77-68, Jeunghun Wang (KOR) 73-72, Chan Shih-chang (TPE) 75-70, Yosuke Asaji (JPN) 77-68, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 72-73, Kyongjun Moon (KOR) 77-68, Isaac Lee (am, HKG) 75-70.
146 – Mardan Mamat (SIN) 74-72.
147 – Chen Zihao (CHN) 75-72, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA) 74-73, Yikeun Chang (KOR) 72-75, Alexander Yang (am, HKG) 76-71.
148 – Zhang Lianwei (CHN) 70-78, Sam Maltby (ENG) 76-72, Lin Xing-zhi (am, HKG) 74-74.
149 – Angelo Que (PHI) 73-76, Taewoo Kim #1468 (KOR) 73-76, Harrison Gilbert (AUS) 73-76.
150 – Tim Hung (ENG) 74-76, Tong Yang (CHN) 76-74.
151 – Yue Yin-ho (am, HKG) 75-76, Wong Woon-man (HKG) 76-75.
152 – Timothy Chan (am, HKG) 77-75, Leon D’Souza (HKG) 79-73.
153 – Markus Lam (am, HKG) 72-81, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 79-74.
156 – Wilson Choy (HKG) 80-76, Steven Lam (HKG) 82-74.
157 – Shane Kuiti (NZL) 77-80.
174 – Kenny Hoi Kin Wong (HKG) 86-88.
+0 (140) was the final cut, 71 players made the cut