Itthipat sets pace with flawless round

Itthipat sets pace with flawless round

Itthipat Buranatanyarat plays a shot during the second round. (Photo: Asian Tour Graham Uden)
Itthipat Buranatanyarat plays a shot during the second round. (Photo: Asian Tour Graham Uden)

Jakarta: Thailand's Itthipat Buranatanyarat said this week he has benefited greatly from playing in two star-studded LIV Golf Invitational events this year, and it showed yesterday as he added a second round five-under-par 67 to his first-round 64 to take the lead in the US$500,000 Mandiri Indonesia Open.

He led the Asian Tour event on 13 under at Pondok Indah Golf Course, having not dropped a shot in two days and carded 13 birdies.

Korea's Kim Min-Kyu, winner of the Kolon Korea Open in June, and American Berry Henson, chasing his first win on Tour in 11 years, both carded 67s to sit two back.

Weather delays on Thursday meant the event is playing catch up: 24 players were unable to finish yesterday. They included Hong Kong amateur star Taichi Kho, the joint-first round leader with Itthipat, and Taiwan's Chang Wei-lun. Kho is 11 under with four to play and Chang 12 under with two to go.

"Today I started with not hitting my tee shots so well. I hit hooks on three holes in a row. But I tried to get my confidence back, and it came back," said Itthipat.

"Then I started hitting the fairways so I could hit the greens. So today was one more round for me with no bogeys. Bogey free two days in a row. So yeah, I feel good."

Kim, the 21-year-old who won on Europe's Challenge Tour when he was 17 in 2018, is one of his country's great young hopes and was clearly in the mood for more success.

"I've played pretty solid since Korea. And this is my first Asian Tour event since winning the Kolon Korea Open. So, I'm very excited to be in contention this weekend," he said.

Thailand's Atiruj Winaicharoenchai carded the best round of the week so far, a 63 and is three behind the leaders. Preferred lies are being played and therefore it was not a course record.



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