Singapore-based Australian Unho Park battled the gusty conditions before signing for a second round one-over-par 73 to stake his place atop the leaderboard at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters presented by Enjoy Jakarta Golf on Friday.
On a windy day where only four players broke par at the Royal Jakarta Golf Club, Park continued to put himself in contention for his maiden Asian Tour win at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event with his two-day total of four-under-par 140.
Overnight co-leader Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei eagled his closing ninth hole to haul himself back into contention, taking the outright second place with a 75 after struggling for most part of the day.
Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul and Chapchai Nirat signed for matching 142 total to share third place with Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and Japan’s Yosuke Tsukada while birthday boy Lee Westwood of England returned with a 74 to stay in touch with the leaders in seventh place.
Starting the day tied for second, Park stumbled early with a bogey on the first hole.
He recovered briefly with two birdies on 14 and 16 but dropped three more shots in his inward-nine.
“It was a tough day in the office today. I actually felt the winds were blowing harder today. I didn’t hit it as good as yesterday but I still managed to hit some decent shots,” said Park.
The 41-year-old, who has surprised even himself by holding the lead, is upbeat of his chances this week.
“I always surprise myself when I play well. Today, I just hung in there as it was really a grind today. But overall, it’s still a good position heading into the weekends,” said Park.
Chan meanwhile produced a spectacular masterclass on his last hole by chipping in from the edge of the green for an eagle-three.
That brought out the cheers for the 28-year-old who was staring at a five-over-par score before his last hole heroics changed the equation.
“I needed that eagle on the last hole to get me back into the game. It was definitely a big relief as I was four-over at the turn and needed something special like that to bring me back into contention.
“I’m used to such windy conditions as that’s what it’s like back home too but I struggle with the distance as this is a fairly long course and I’ve to hit it really long,” said Chan.
Westwood also conceded the gusty winds made play tough but remained confident of securing a hat-trick of titles at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.
“It was tough and one of the toughest I’ve ever seen in Asia. Conditions were really extreme. We didn’t get a break with the weather. Normally it’s quite calm in the morning but it was blowing from the get-go this morning.
“I feel like under-par will still get you into contention and I’m still in there. I think it’s going to be bunched up and a scramble on the Sunday. So it’s just the case of being within a few shots of the leaders,” said Westwood, winner of the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters in 2011 and 2012.
Sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour of Indonesia, the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters Presented by Enjoy Jakarta Golf will feature 24 Indonesian golfers, 20 professionals from the PGA Tour of Indonesia and four of Indonesia’s top amateurs who will compete in the 150 player field over 72 holes of individual stroke play.
Leading scores after round 2 of the CIMB NIAGA Indonesian Masters being played at the par 72, 7340 Yards Royale Jakarta GC course (am – denotes amateur):
140 – Unho PARK (AUS) 67-73.
141 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 66-75.
142 – Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 69-73, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 68-74, Thomas BJORN (DEN) 66-76, Yosuke TSUKADA (JPN) 71-71.
143 – Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 69-74.
144 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 71-73, Y.E. YANG (KOR) 73-71, Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 69-75, Paul SPARGO (AUS) 70-74.
145 – Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 74-71, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 72-73, Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS) 75-70, Ryosuke KINOSHITA (JPN) 71-74, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 73-72, Kalle SAMOOJA (FIN) 69-76.
146 – Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 69-77, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 69-77, Anthony KANG (USA) 70-76