Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan sensationally eagled the 626-yard par-five 18th to take the lead after the second round at The Singapore International today at Tanah Merah Country Club.
The 26-year-old fired a six-under-par 66 for a two-shot lead, on five-under, over Ratchanon Chantananuwat, Thailand’s 14-year-old amateur golf sensation, and India’s Khalin Joshi.
Ratchanon, nicknamed “TK”, also returned a 66 while first-round leader Joshi carded a 74.
The US$1million tournament is the second from last event on the Asian Tour’s 2020-21 season.
On another difficult day in strong winds on an exacting Tampines Course, Rattanon took some of the attention away from headline grabbing Ratchanon with his brilliant finish.
“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,” said Rattanon, whose sole Asian Tour victory came in the 2018 Thailand Open.
“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.”
Ratchanon, who is playing in his first professional event overseas, shot 75 yesterday and complained of feeling unwell but was thrilled to get himself back in contention today with a round that saw him hit all 14 fairways despite the wind.
“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,” he said.
“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. And I was so hungry as well: I had an apple, a banana, two 100plus and two chocolate bars through seven holes. But I had some medicine and slept late night and played better today.
“And it’s not just the score. I am just really happy with the way I am playing because it’s the first time I have played a course this hard.”
Said Joshi: “My putting wasn’t good today. It wasn’t a good day on the greens for me. I struggled with the putter but overall, I am happy with the way I’m playing. Obviously, it was tough out there. It’s not going to be easy. 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 at one-under for the tournament.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, finished in solo possession of sixth place on level par after a 73.
Wade Ormsby, the current leader of the Merit list, is in a tie for 10th on two-over following a 74.
The Australian is not playing in next week’s season-ending SMBC Singapore Open so needs a strong finish over the weekend to hold on to top spot on the Merit list with a host of leading players chasing him.
Singapore Open Amateur champion Ryan Ang, helped by an eagle on his penultimate hole, made it through to the weekend after firing a 73 to finish five over.
Singapore’s Mitchell Slorach, Abdul Hadi and Koh Dengshan also survived the halfway cut which was made at seven-over.