Thailand’s veteran star Thaworn Wiratchant hit a glorious back nine 28 en route to an eight-under-par 63 to snatch the halfway lead at the Queen’s Cup on Friday.

The 50-year-old Thaworn, who holds the most Asian Tour wins with 18 titles, was in mesmerizing form at Santiburi Samui Country Club, a venue which saw him triumph in the 2012 and 2014 Queen’s Cup and 2008 Bangkok Airways Open.

After turning in one under with two birdies and one bogey, the double Asian Tour number one rolled in seven birdies, including four-in-a-row from the 10th hole to equal his best round at Samui and lead by one from playing partner Nicholas Fung of Malaysia.

Fung, who is chasing a maiden Asian Tour title, carded a 68 while six players – India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia (68) and Rashid Khan (70), Filipino Angelo Que (70) and Juvic Pagunsan (67), Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng (70) and Pasavee Lertvilai (66) – are two off the pace in the US$500,000 tournament sponsored by Bangkok Airways and Sports Authority of Thailand.

Straight-shooting Chawrasia, ranked second on the Order of Merit, could have ended the second round one shot closer to the lead had he not signed for a higher score on his last hole, the ninth, which he birdied but signed for a par. The Indian six-time winner, who sank an eagle and one birdie in his bogey-free card, can take over top spot on the Merit list if he finishes second with another golfer or better on Sunday.

Pagunsan sank five birdies against a lone bogey as he stepped up his chase for a second Asian Tour victory. The 39-year-old, Asia’s number one in 2011, needed only 26 putts to move into contention in the tournament which he has finished top-three in 2010 and 2012.

Did you Know?

  • Thaworn took only 26 putts, including 10 one-putts in his second round. He also took 26 putts on Thursday. He missed only three greens in regulation on day two.
  • Apart from three wins here, Thaworn also has four other top-10s here including a runner-up finish in 2010 where he shot a second round 63.
  • Thaworn’s last win on the Asian Tour was the 2014 King’s Cup on home soil. He won the Order of Merit twice in 2005 and 2012.
  • Thaworn secured his first top-10 in nearly 18 months at the Thailand Open last month.
  • In nine tournaments this year, Fung has yet to notch a top-10, with a tied 22nd at Yeangder Heritage in Taipei being his best finish yet.
  • Fung finished 12th on the Order of Merit last year which was his career best, thanks to four top-10s including a second place at the Resorts World Manila Masters where he closed with a 63.
  • Fung finished seventh in the Queen’s Cup last year and tied 12th in 2013. He missed the cut in 2015 and 2014.
  • In 36 holes, Chawrasia, who did not play a practice round this week, has dropped only one bogey in round one.
  • Chawrasia successfully defended his Hero Indian Open title by seven shots in March which helped move him up to second place on the Merit list with US$304,500.
  • Chawrasia finished equal sixth in the Queen’s Cup in 2015. He was also tied eighth at Santiburi Samui in the 2006 Bangkok Airways Open.
  • In 2006, Chawrasia was disqualified at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters while in contention after failing to sign for his second round scorecard.
  • After a bogey on five, Pagunsan birdied six, 11, 14, 17 and 18 to move into contention. He took 26 putts, including nine one-putts.
  • Pagunsan finished second and third at the Queen’s Cup in 2012 and 2010 respectively. He finished second in the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open and sixth in the Panasonic Open Japan this year.
  • Pagunsan wrote a slice of history in 2011, becoming the first Filipino to win the coveted Order of Merit trophy in a season where he did not win a tournament but posted four top-10s, including a runner-up finish at the Singapore Open.


Player Quotes 

Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) – Second Round 63 (-8), Total 133 (-9)

It was by accident, I was lucky! Some of the greens are quite fast but some are funny. I thought I would make the birdie putt on 17 but when it went near the hole, it just stayed out. This score is beyond my imagination.

The last time I shot a 28 was when I won the Malaysian PGA Championship a long time ago. I’ve not shot a 28 before on the Asian Tour.  (Note: Thaworn is the ninth player to shoot a seven-under-par 28 on Tour. Four players have shot eight-under-par 28 which is the lowest nine hole score in relation to par).

I’m too old to play on the Asian Tour these days. I do like to play in Asian Tour events as the Tour is like a big family to me. I like meeting up with old friends. The courses these days are a lot longer and I’m getting older. It’s hard. It’s getting tiring for me.

This morning, I wasn’t quite confident before I started but one of my management team gave me confidence and told me I’m still a golf legend. That gave me motivation. I want to win number 19, I want 20 and I want 21 wins. If I have a chance, I want more wins, not just 18 especially when I have the opportunity this week.

Nicholas Fung (Mas) – Second Round 68 (-3), Total 134 (-8)

It was windy on the front nine and I just tried to keep the ball in play all the time and make some putts. It worked okay. I was playing with Thaworn and I was just trying to learn from him and tried to put my ball near his ball so that I could read his lines. It’s amazing, I couldn’t believe he shot 28 on the back nine.

Rahil Gangjee and I were just watching him hole all his putts on the back nine. I was one over on the front nine and shot four under on the back nine. I was just trying to keep up with the legend. I don’t want to think too much now that I’m in contention. I just want to play good golf and not think about winning.

 SSP Chawrasia (Ind) – Second round 68 (-4), Total 135 (-7)

I’m playing good. I’m happy. I’m looking forward to the next two days. If I win it, I can be number one on the Order of Merit. If I can finish as number one, it’ll be my biggest achievement. I’ll be trying my best to get it.

My putting has been a bit of a struggle. I’m hitting it good but need to putt better. I can win the tournament if I putt better. The greens are a bit slower than in previous years here. My confidence is high and I feel really good.

On his higher score signed on hole 9 where he shot a birdie three but signed for a par four?

It’s my own fault. I didn’t check my scorecard. This is the second time it’s happened in my career.

Juvic Pagunsan (Phi) – Second Round 67 (-4), Total 135 (-7)

I hit it good out there and putted nicely. I’ve played good this season. When I changed my driver early this year, I managed to hit it farther and straighter which is a big advantage. Managed to make five birdies and hit a lot of greens. I really like playing on this course. I like the blind holes because you don’t know what’s going to happen. I love coming to this place too, the beach, the people and the food especially. Maybe I’ll need to take my chances better this weekend.

Angelo Que (Phi) – Second Round 70 (-1), Total 135 (-7)

I started a bit slow, bogeyed the first and doubled the fifth. I came back after that. I’m hitting it pretty good except for those two holes which were bad holes. If you misjudge the wind or get an unlucky bounce, it can cost you. You just have to be careful and accept whatever that happen. It’ll be fun in the next two rounds, especially when I may get a chance to play with Juvic.

I’m in good form right now, hopefully I’ll keep it up towards the weekend. I’ll like to add another win outside the country. I’ve been winning back home but it would be better if I can win abroad. It would be another achievement for me. I’m not counting on it, but I’m hoping to do it. I have to think better on the golf course.


Scores after round 2 of the Queen’s Cup 2017 being played at the par 71, 6,851 Yards Santiburi Samui CC course (am – denotes amateur):

133 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 70-63.

134 – Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 66-68.

135 – Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 68-67, Rashid KHAN (IND) 65-70, Angelo QUE (PHI) 65-70, S.S.P CHAWRASIA (IND) 67-68, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 65-70, Pasavee LERTVILAI (THA) 69-66.

136 – Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 69-67, Mithun PERERA (SRI) 69-67, Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 66-70, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 68-68.

137 – Danthai BOONMA (THA) 68-69, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 66-71, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 68-69, Danny CHIA (MAS) 69-68.

138 – Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 70-68, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 69-69.

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