Phuket: In-form Thai star Sadom Kaewkanjana equalled Australian Greg Norman's course record on the Canyon Course at Blue Canyon Country Club yesterday with an imperious eight-under-par 64.
Although it is not counted as an official record because preferred lies rule was in effect, the Thai had the gratification of seeing his name on top of the leaderboard at the US$1 million Blue Canyon Phuket Championship.
Eight brilliant birdies -- three on the front and five on the back -- saw him move into the lead on 132, a stroke in front of American John Catlin, the first-round leader, who shot a 68.
South Korean Kim Si-Hwan and Taiwan's Chan Shih-chang were one shot behind the American after rounds of 66 and 68 respectively, in an event that marks the resumption of the Asian Tour's 2020-21 season, following a 20-month hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"My game today was pretty good -- especially iron play and putting," said 23-year-old Sadom, whose round also matched South African Anton Haig's 64 in the 2007 Johnnie Walker Classic.
"I hit close to the pin and made many birdies. And I have missed only one fairway this week."
Sadom has claimed four titles on the domestic tour in the past two months, including the Thailand Open, and looks like the man to beat this week besides Catlin.
"Initially I was just focusing on making the cut, but I am changing my game plan for tomorrow and looking to go further," he said.
Catlin, who carded a 65 to take the first-round lead on Thursday, stayed in the hunt yesterday with six birdies and two dropped shots. "I played well today but need to go to the range and work on a few things," said Catlin.
"It was a very early start today. I was up at 4.30am and we didn't get back until late last night, so I went straight to bed. But it's great to be in this position and have a chance at the weekend."
South Korea's Kim Joo-hyung, 19, came in with a 67 and was four off the lead.
Australian Wade Ormsby, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, shot a 69 and was six off the pace, while Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond, the reigning Merit champion, returned a 72 to surprisingly miss the cut, made at one under, by four.
Thailand's 14-year-old Ratchanon Chantananuwat hit a 72 to become the third youngest player to make the cut on the Asian Tour. He is the only amateur to survive the halfway cut so he has secured the low amateur award.