One-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner Masaru Takahashi of Japan took advantage of his early morning start and closed with four consecutive birdies to share the halfway lead at the PGM Terengganu Championship on Thursday.
Takahashi, who opened with an even-par 71, signed for a 67 to share the lead with American Shane Smith (70) and Thailand’s Panuwat Muenlek (68) on four-under-par 138 total at the Resorts World Kijal.
Janne Kaske of Finland, Australian Jack Munro and Atthaphon Sriboonkaew of Thailand stayed one shot back in fourth place following rounds of 67, 70 and 71 respectively at the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) event.
Asian Tour stalwart Danny Chia emerged as the highest placed Malaysian after carding a second consecutive 70 to sit in seventh place alongside Canadian Lindsay Renolds (73), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (72) and Australian Jordan Sherratt (68) on 140.
Defending champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert, who opened with a 75, recovered with a 69 to move into a share of 22nd place while overnight leader Rory Hie of Indonesia slipped to tied-11th following a 75 at the PGM Terengganu Championship, which is the third leg of the ADT schedule this season.
A total of 51 players made the halfway cut which was set at five-over-par 147.
Takahashi, who started off at the 10th tee, reeled in eight straight pars before dropping a shot on the 18th. He recovered swiftly with a birdie on the first and closed with four straight birdies to move into a share of the lead.
“I am very happy with the way I played today. The course is playing tough but it was not as windy in the morning as it was in the afternoon. I guess that was an advantage for me,” said the 28-year-old Japanese, who last won on the ADT in 2013.
“I am feeling good about my game right now. I am confident of doing better in the next two rounds. I will continue to do what I have been doing as we will see how it goes. Hopefully I can get a win this week as my main focus is on the ADT this season,” added Takahashi.
The ADT will reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading second round scores:
138 – Shane SMITH (USA) 68-70, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 71-67, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 70-68
139 – Janne KASKE (FIN) 72-67, Jack MUNRO (AUS) 69-70, Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) 68-71
140 – Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (HA) 68-72, Danny CHIA (MAS) 70-70, Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) 72-68, Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN) 67-73
141 – Takuya FUJI (JPN) 69-72, Rory HIE (INA) 66-75, LAM Chih Bing (SIN) 72-69, Abel TAM (MAS) 71-70, James BYRNE (SCO) 73-68