Thomas looks for weekend surge in Incheon

Joy Chakravarty 18:40 07/10/2016
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Rayhan Thomas.

Rayhan Thomas refused to blame the tough afternoon conditions at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon for a three-over 75 round and exuded confidence he will be able to make a weekend charge in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

Despite slipping on day two, the Dubai-based Thomas remains the best-placed Indian in the tournament – tied 17th at one-over 145 – with Australia’s Brett Coletta shooting a second consecutive round of 67 to move to 10-under-par and enjoy a one-shot lead over compatriot Cameron Davis.

The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship is the biggest amateur tournament in the region. Organised by the R&A, the Masters and the Asia Pacific Golf Council, the tournament winner gets entry into the Open Championship and the Masters.

The 16-year-old, now ranked 131st in the World Amateur Golf Rankings after his magnificent performances on the MENA Golf Tour lately, could make only one birdie against four bogeys yesterday, to add to his two-under par 70 round on Thursday.

Thomas, playing in one of the late groups in the afternoon, was caught in the drizzle without an umbrella, but faulted his putter for his plight.

“Really can’t complain about the day. The ball striking was good, I drove the ball great, but I just could not buy a putt. I just did not hole anything, which you do need to do in any golf tournament,” said Thomas, winner of the Dubai Creek Open on MENA Tour last month.

“The problems are going to compound if you miss a few greens here. Chipping around these greens is very difficult.

“Yeah…but it rained a bit towards the end and it was much windier than the first day, so the conditions were slightly tougher. More importantly, the wind changed direction today and it was a very different course to the one we played the first few days.”

Even though 11 shots behind Coletta at the halfway stage, Thomas was confident he can surge into contention over the remaining 36 holes.

“My position coming into the weekend, I think I am in a good spot, but I am bit too far back from the leaders. However, I am happy with the way I am playing, so I am hoping for a good round tomorrow,” said the Justin Parsons-coached Thomas.

“I am not going to change anything for the weekend. I am going to stick to my routine and go through the same process, making sure that I chose the right clubs and put my 100 per cent into each shot. Hopefully, the putts will drop and I can make a move.”

World No2 amateur, US Amateur champion Curtis Luck, tied fourth at five-under par made it a stranglehold of Australian golfers in the top of the leaderboard. There were three Japanese in the top eight, led by Junya Kameshiro (69), who was third at seven-under par.

In the Indian contingent, five of the six players made the cut. Behind Thomas were Rigel Fernandes (76-71), Kshitij Naveed Kaul (74-73) and Yuvraj Sandhu (72-75) in tied-25th place, while Viraj Madappa (76-72), who was five-under for his last five holes, was tied-31st.

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