Taiwan’s Hung Chien-yao stormed into the lead on the second day of the Venetian Macao Open on Friday with a seven-under-par 64, but was still only one shot ahead of the tournament’s defending champion.
The 23-year-old’s stunning round at the Macau Golf and Country Club, which included seven birdies, propelled him to his first-ever lead on the Asian tour, in a tournament that has also seen four-time Major winner Ernie Els and two-time Macao Open champion Zhang Lian-wei miss the cut at the halfway mark.
“Everything feels good,” said Hung, whose overall score was a 10-under-par 132.
“I didn’t push myself and didn’t tell myself that I have to play good. I was relaxed and enjoyed the day.”
One shot behind after two days of golf were defending tournament champion Anirban Lahiri, as well as South Korea’s Jeunghun Wang, India’s Chiragh Kumar and Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva.
Thailand’s Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who was in the lead after the first day of the $1 million (880,000-euro) tournament, struggled on day two with a 71.
— Asian Tour (@asiantourgolf) October 16, 2015
Leading scores (par 71)
132 – Hung Chien-yao (TPE) 68-64
133 – Anirban Lahiri (IND) 66-67, Jeunghun Wang (KOR) 65-68, Chiragh Kumar (IND) 67-66, Adilson Da Silva (BRA) 68-65
134 – Scott Hend (AUS) 66-68, Sam Brazel (AUS) 68-66
135 – Thitiphun Chuayprakong (THA) 64-71, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 67-68, Lee Sung (KOR) 70-65, Rashid Khan (IND) 70-65
The last PGA Tour season ended 17 days ago and the European Tour season has another six weeks to run, but Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose are among the players starting the new PGA Tour season this week.
The Frys.com Open would not usually be able to call on players ranked third and seventh in the world given its position in the calendar, coming so soon after the Tour Championship in Atlanta and before the lucrative Final Series.
However, McIlroy and Rose were among eight players who entered a non-sanctioned match play event called the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final in October 2012, which was staged at the same time as the Frys.com Open.
And in return for being granted a release to play in Turkey – where Rose won $1.5million – all eight players had to agree to make the trip to Napa in California at least once during the next three years.
I’d buy ticket watch this live: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker grouped over first two rounds of PGA Tour season opener in Napa.
— Steve Elling (@EllingYelling) October 14, 2015
McIlroy, Rose and major winners Charl Schwartzel and Webb Simpson have left it until now to fulfil their obligations, with Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar having already played.
Tiger Woods was due to compete this week but has been ruled out until 2016 due to a second back operation. Also in the field is American Scott Stallings, who is free to compete again after serving a three-month suspension for violating the PGA Tour’s anti-drug policy.
Stallings reported himself to the Tour after realising a supplement he had been taking to combat chronic fatigue was prohibited. The 30-year-old, who was ranked 154th in the world at the time of his ban, is now 209th.
Indian ace Anirban Lahiri is aiming to successfully defend his Venetian Macao Open title starting on Thursday, saying he has overcome his Presidents Cup heartbreak.
Lahiri, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, declared he is ready to launch a final push to become the region’s new No. 1 starting with this week’s $1 million event which has attracted a stellar field.
It includes four-time Major winner Ernie Els, 2013 champion Scott Hendand and eight of the current top-10 players from the Merit list.
“It was a disappointing result but it was certainly not a disappointment,” reflected Lahiri, who missed a three-foot birdie putt for a half point that could have altered the end result of the Presidents Cup.
“What we witnessed is exactly the nature of the sport. What I experienced was what Scott (Hend) experienced here last year. We both hit good putts and it didn’t go in.
— Anirban Lahiri (@anirbangolf) October 12, 2015
“Sometimes you’re on the receiving end. You take it in your stride and take whatever you need to do to get better.”
Lahiri revealed he slept easily on Sunday night knowing he had stuck to his process and routine before hitting his putt. The United States of America beat the Internationals by one point.
“Obviously, you reflect on it. I thought to myself ‘what did I do wrong’ and I couldn’t come up with an answer. If you can’t come up with an answer, you can sleep peacefully and I did,” said the world No. 39.
“I followed my process, I was focused and I tried my heart out. I hit the shots exactly how I saw it, even with the last putt. There’s nothing I regret but I feel bad about it as the team had worked hard.”
After winning the Venetian Macao Open some 12 months ago, the 28-year-old Lahiri went on to win in Malaysia and India in February and has since enjoyed a magical season which included a top-five finish at the PGA Championship and earning a card on the PGA Tour.
His goal now is to wrap up the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit title and join compatriots Arjun Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa as the only Indian golfers to have won the Merit list.