Chapchai holds halfway lead in Singha Esan Open

Khon Kaen, Thailand, March 25: Chapchai Nirat maintained his lead in the Singha Esan Open today after shooting a second round two-under-par 70.

The Thai star, who fired a first round 64, moved to 10 under for the tournament, one ahead of compatriot Somchai Pongpaew.

The US$100,000 event is the opening event on the 2016 ASEAN PGA Tour.

Unheralded Somchai carded a 67 at Singha Park Golf Club.

Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat is in sole possession of third, four off the lead, after firing a 68.

Chapchai, a four-time winner on the Asian Tour, birdied the par-five 18th to help make sure he finished the day in the lead.

The 32-year-old made an eagle, four birdies and four bogies to put himself in control.

The burly golfer hit world headlines in 2009 when he set the world 72-hole scoring record with a stunning 32-under-par 256 winning total at the SAIL Open in India.

His most recent win came in the 2014 Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in Malaysia.

Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, the defending champion, carded a 76 and is even for the tournament.

Reigning ASEAN PGA Order of Merit winner Prayad Marksaeng from Thailand came in with 81 to missed the cut.

Korean Daejin Jeong returned a 76 to lead the way for the graduates from the recent OneAsia Qualifying School at one over for the event.

This year’s event is of special significance as it welcomes the graduates as part of a new association with OneAsia and the four ASEAN PGA events in Thailand.

The Singha Esan Open is one of four tournaments jointly sanctioned by the ASEAN PGA Tour with the All Thailand Golf Tour. The others are the Singha Hua Hin Open, Singha Pattaya Open and Singha Phuket Open.

134 – Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 64 70
135 – Somchai PONGPAEW (THA) 68 67
138 – Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 70 68
139 – Thummanoon KOONMARK (THA) 67 72, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 65 74
140 – Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 71 69, Somkiat SRISA-NGA (THA) 72 68, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 67 73