One of Thailand’s emerging talents, Chinnarat Phadungskil, set the Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort on fire yesterday with a second round 64, which broke the course record set the previous day, for an 11-under-par 133 total.
But despite that blazing effort, the 23-year-old had to share the half-way lead in the Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic with Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung, who shot an impressive 65 on the back of his first round of 68.
It was a day of tantalising twists and turns in which overnight leader Baek Seuk-hyun of South Korea first lost his way with a 71 that pushed him down the ladder to joint fourth.
Through all the second round theatrics and turmoil, Ireland’s Niall Turner, who was one shot behind Baek Seuk Hyun on Wednesday evening, stood firm to record an identical 67 that now slots him into a clear third, one stroke behind the leading pair.
Turner has been a model of consistency, not dropping a shot in 36 holes.
The toast of the day was reserved for Chinnarat, a three time winner on the Asian Tour, for his bag of nine birds.
His only blemish came when he bogeyed the seventh hole, which he had birdied in the first round.
The key element in the Thai youngster’s forceful drive for his first title in three years was his iron play, which worked to such effect that he had 17 greens in regulation.
“My irons were very good. I didn’t have long putts as I hit many shots close,” said Chinnarat, who holds the record of being the youngest winner on the Asian Tour at the age of 17 years and five days
Appearing in his first tournament of the year, 31-year-old Kim was in regal form, shooting five straight birdies on his front nine and then holing a sensational eagle on 16 from 30 yards.
He followed up with another birdie on 17, but the Korean was denied outright lead after dropping a shot on his last hole.
“I had a shoulder injury last year and because of that my shoulder turn has not been too good. We worked on it which has allowed me to hit draw shots. I’ve gained some 20 yards with my driver and about one club length with the iron shots. I feel good about my game,” Kim told the Asian Tour yesterday.
Four strokes behind the leading group are Filipino Elmer Salvador (69), Indian newcomer Ajeetesh Sandhu (68) and Thailand’s Thanyakon Khrongpha (66).
Filipino Jay Bayron fired the tournament’s first hole-in-one at the par three ninth with a four iron in his round of 67.
It was his first ace in the pro ranks.
Left handed Ly Hong was a transformed player in the second round, notching up an impressive three-under-par 69.
The Cambodian amateur shook off all the ill-effects of his wobbly first round seven over 79, to come up with a remarkable show of assurance on most of his approaches.
He dropped a stroke on the 15th, but his four second round birdies ensured that he had one of his unforgettable rounds.
Ly Hong finished the day a respectable 107th out of 144 in the starting field, just five shots from making the cut.
For Cambodia’s other amateur on course, Seng Vanseiha, the second round was only a slight improvement on his disappointing first.
He ended up with a total of 158, 14-over-par.
Notable players who also missed the cut included Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, who was touted as one of the trophy hunters, as well as India’s Shiv Kapur and Austrian Hamza Amin.