Phachara sparkles with 63 at Golf Hong Kong Open
HONG KONG, Nov. 10– Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai unleashed his full repertoire of shots on Friday to take the lead in the 2- million-US-dollar Hong Kong Open, after carding a brilliant seven-under-par 63.. He leads on 12- under by one from Australian Cam Smith and Sangmoon Bae of South Korea, who returned rounds of 66 and 63 respectively, here on a warm and sunny…
HONG KONG, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai unleashed his full repertoire of shots on Friday to take the lead in the 2-million-US-dollar Hong Kong Open, after carding a brilliant seven-under-par 63.
He leads on 12-under by one from Australian Cam Smith and Sangmoon Bae of South Korea, who returned rounds of 66 and 63 respectively, here on a warm and sunny day at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
American Micah Laurent Shin (63), Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana (64), Kiwi Ben Campbell (64) and Harrison Crowe (65) from Australia are one shot further back – in the penultimate leg of this year’s International Series.
Lee Chieh-po from Chinese Taipei is also tied with them following a 65, driven in a big way by a hole-in-one on the par-three eighth – which saw him rewarded with the keys to a BMW I5 eDrive40 MSE.
“My game is better game right now,” said Phachara.
“Like on the last hole I could hit it to the green, but it was like a 1% chance to get on green and the pin was back left. If I hit it past the green on the right side, I have no chance to make a par. So, then I thought okay, lay-up, and then I hit a good third shot and made par.”
Smith admitted he wasn’t quite at his best today despite nailing six birdies with two bogeys.
“It was a lot tougher [today],” said the 2022 Open winner, who made three birdies on the trot from the first.
“Early alarm this morning, body wasn’t quite working this morning. But you know, it was alright, it was a little bit scrappy to be honest. It was good to get out of there with three or four under there.”
His two round total is already three shots better than when he finished joint ninth here in 2014, the only other time he has played in the event.
Bae, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, registered an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys.
Lee’s ace was the third of his career and was the result of laser-like seven-iron from 196 yards.
He said: “It’s unreal, you know, because this is my first hole-in-one since I turned pro, so it’s just unbelievable.”
American Harold Varner III signed for a brilliant best of the day 62, which was 10 shots better than his first round, to leap into a tie 21st place.
Australian Wade Ormsby, the defending champion, returned a 71 to finish one over and miss the halfway cut. Enditem