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Avantha Masters. Awesome African Aiken Ascends.

South African Thomas Aiken fired an awesome third round -10 under par 62, to ascend to the top of the leaderboard at the Avantha Masters, on the Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort course in India.

Awesome Aiken builds commanding lead

Thomas Aiken / Getty Images

Thomas Aiken now has a three shot lead going into the final round of the Avantha Masters, in Greater Noida, Delhi, India. Thomas carded eight birdies and an eagle in his ten under par round. His closest rival is China’s Wenchong Liang, who had a third round -3 under par, 69, for his -15 under par total.

Thomas said concentration was the key;

” I concentrated very hard to play one shot at a time and it seemed to work, it just shows what can happen. I got off to a great start, holing a pitch shot on the second for eagle always helps, and from then on I just stuck to my game plan. All in all I’m very pleased with the way I played. I’ve been playing very well the last four months and just haven’t converted opportunities. Fortunately this week I’ve converted a lot of the opportunities that I’ve had, the majority of them have gone in from inside ten feet and that’s what makes the difference from a scoring point of view.”

The overnight joint-leader Wenchong Liang is in second place, he missed two short putts on the day, they were inside two feet;

” The key is to stay patient, I’m just three shots back and I’m confident that the gap can be closed. Anything can happen in golf and I only need to believe that I can do it. Hopefully luck will play a part as well.”

Tied in third place, at -14 under par are David Drysdale and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, both players dropped shots late in the day, and now have some work to do to make up the deficit.

Earlier in the week, during the first round Chinnarat Phadungsil shot a 61, he has since dropped off the pace and is now down tied in 23rd place at -9 under par for the tournament.

Lets hope that Thomas will not repeat that kind of classic collapse, following a brilliant round, from this position he should comfortably go on to win this event.

Avantha Masters. Chapchai Nirat & Wen-chong Liang Lead.

At the halfway stage of the Avantha MastersChapchai Nirat and Liang Wen-chong are tied at the top of the leaderboard with a two shot lead over the field.

Liang Wen-chong   (Getty Images)

Wen-chong Liang / Getty Images

Wen-chong, from China,  last won an event in 2007, the Singapore Masters, and is keen to record his second European Tour victory. He said after his second round, which included eight birdies, to get to his tournament total of -12 under par;

 ” I managed to hole several long putts,  although I got two bogeys.  I couldn’t have asked for a better round, some of my best golf. I’ve had a good break with my family and I’m back feeling all recharged. I’ve learnt to be patient and my playing experience from all over the world has taught me well. There are two more rounds to go and hopefully, I can be atop the leaderboard like today.”

Chapchai Nirat, also at -12 under par, had seven birdies and one bogey for his second round of 66 on the Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort course. Chapchai has also not won since 2009 at the Asian Tour SAIL Open. He admitted that luck played a part in his round today;

” I played very well indeed, this is a very long course and I managed to hit the balls long the last two days. I also managed to hole several long putts as well and luck did play a part in getting me to my position today.”

The next group of players, at -10 under par are, Nirat’s compatriot Chawalit Plaphol, Scot David Drysdale, England’s Tommy Fleetwood and the Finn, Joonas Granberg.

As is usually the case, runaway overnight leader Chinnarat Phadungsil could not maintain his incredible opening round form, sadly he  took 12 shots more to complete the back nine second time around. He is now in a tie for eighth place at -9 under par.

David Drysdale likes this course, and thinks it suits him well;

”  The golf course gives you a lot of opportunities for birdies, the par fives are all in reach so it’s been a steady two days. I got through the turn today at nine under and expected to be four or five behind at that point after the lad shooting 11 under yesterday, but saw he had come back to the field so that was a pleasant surprise. In the pro-am on Wednesday I was thinking it would be somewhere in the twenties under par that would win this week, especially if the weather stays like this and the wind doesn’t get up. After someone shoots 11 under you are just trying to shoot as many birdies as you can. When I first saw the course I thought it was a bit of a bomber’s paradise, it looks wide from the tee but actually it’s not that wide and it’s quite a good design, quite narrow which suits me a little bit.”

Avantha Masters, Phadungsil -11 under par, Round 1

 

 

The Avantha Masters in India got off to an amazing start with Chinnarat Phadungsil scorching the  Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort course with an amazing -11 under par round of 61.

 

Flying Phadungsil leads after birdie blitz

Chinnarat Phadungsil /Getty Images

Chinnarat, a twenty-four year old from Thailand already has three Asian Tour titles to his name, the first coming aged just seventeen. He dominated the opening day at Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort, and now leads the competition by five shots, after just one round.

Included in his amazing effort was seven birdies in a row on the back nine, just one short of the European Tour record, after completing the front nine in 33 strokes. Chinnarat started his back nine with four regulation birdies, holed a 50 foot putt at the 14th, very nearly pitched in for Eagle at the par five 15th, and followed that with an approach to two feet at the 16th for an incredible seven straight birdies. Another birdie on the 18th gave him eight birdies on the homeward nine, and his total of -11 under par, the lowest 18 hole total on the 2013 Race to Dubai to date.

Chinnarat had to admit that it was his best return ever;

” That’s my best ever round, today I had a lot of great putts. Back nine I hit the driver better than the front nine, but I holed my putts, that’s why I made my score. Today my game was very good so I will keep going.”

Tied in second place on -6 under par are Thailand’s  Chawalit Plaphol and Chapchai Nirat, China’s Liang Wen-Chong, Swede Magnus A Carlsson and the Indian home favourite Abhijit Singh Chadha, all with first rounds of 66.

Abhijit Singh Chadha was playing in his first event where the Professional Golf Tour of India has been co-sanctioned with the European Tour, and said it was a good experience;

” It’s a good field and it’s the first time I’m playing in an event sanctioned with The European Tour. I’ve got no experience at all, I’ve played a couple of events on the Asian Tour, and playing with the big boys really gives you lots of confidence and it’s a really good feeling for me. I don’t feel the pressure of playing the Avantha Masters for the first time, the experience of playing many big international events during my amateur days has really helped me. As an amateur I played a lot of events overseas as part of the Indian team. The atmosphere at these tournaments was similar to that at the Avantha Masters in terms of international participation and the crowds.”

It will be interesting to see how Chinnarat Phadungsil handles the second round, it is always hard to come back and play well after a really low round.

 

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European Tour, Barclays Singapore Open. 1st round Play Suspended

Thomas Bjorn  (Getty Images)

Thomas Bjorn/ Getty Images

European Tour event the Barclays Singapore Open got off to a slow start as play was suspended midway through the day. Thomas Bjorn, of Denmark was the clubhouse leader at the suspension of play, with his -5 under par round of  66 at the Sentosa Golf Club. Thomas had won three times on the European Tour last year, but has yet to record a victory in 2012, but he said he always enjoys coming to Singapore, commenting that it is not a long course;

“I came here and saw the golf course, and knew that everything was about driving the golf ball well. It’s not the longest golf course in the world, so if you can keep it in the fairway you can produce a score, and I did that very well today. It’s only round one though, so we’ll work from here. I always enjoy coming to Singapore and Malaysia., you have got to pace yourself a little bit, and not use too much energy through the week. It is quite nice for the body to be feeling nice and warm out there, with no cold for the old joints to get you into trouble”

There are three players who have finished at -4 under are, they are Simon Khan, Chinnarat Phadungsil and Pablo Martin. The former BMW PGA Champion Simon Khan led the way for most of the morning but slipped up with two bogeys in his last three holes, Simon remarked on the heat out on the course;

“The heat wasn’t quite as intense first thing, but it soon warms up here. Round the front nine I really got it going nicely but on the back nine maybe I didn’t hit it quite where I wanted to. I dropped my first shot on sixteen, trying to get a bit cute between clubs, then just hit a bad tee shot on the last. I wasn’t really concentrating on the tee, I think by that point the heat had got to me a little bit, but overall I was pleased how I handled it today, and it’s a good start.”

Pablo Martin needs to climb 51 places by the end of next week to retain his playing privileges and to hopefully avoid a trip to the Qualifying School, he hopes he can put together four good rounds this week and is yearning for some good luck;

“I haven’t been playing or scoring well all year really. I haven’t been able to put together four decent rounds in a row, which has been very frustrating. But hopefully my luck will turn here, and this can be my week. I’ve got two tournaments left until the end of the season, so I want to make the most of them and finish the season strongly.”

Phil Mickelson has had a miserable day, finishing at +2 over par, after his opening round of 73. Rory McIlroy has played eight holes and is cruising along at par, while Adam Scott has completed his round at par. Play will resume early Friday morning, preceding the second round.

I was expecting some much lower scores on this course, as the players have been allowed to pick and place the ball, just because there there could be some mud on the ball. Play the ball as it lies, that is what we all have to do.

I am going on a golf trip at the weekend, and there is no WIFI where I am going so will have to catch up reporting on this tournament when I return.

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