THAMMANOON Sriroj used a strong start to cushion the impact of a shaky finish, shooting a three-under par 69 in sweltering heat to lead Thailand’s hot charge halfway through the Solaire Open at Wack Wack’s East layout on Friday.
With first-round leader Dodge Kemmer turning from awesome to awful with a birdie-less 79, Sriroj rattled off three birdies in the first 16 holes to negate his second straight bogey mishap on the par-4 17th.
His 34-35 card gave him a 36-hole aggregate of 142 and a share of the halfway lead with compatriot Kwanchai Tannin, who carded a second straight 71, Australian Matt Jager (72) and Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang (73).
Home hero Juvic Pagunsan, who fired a 72 in the first round, withdrew to attend to his expectant wife.
“It was unfortunate that Juvic Pagunsan had to withdraw from the Solaire Open as his wife, who is due to give birth, is feeling ill,” said tournament director Fritz Katzengrube. “It is truly regrettable that the star player this week had to withdraw but we wish him and his family the best of health.”
Pawin Ingkhapradit bogeyed No. 16 and failed to join the leaders, dropping instead to another four-way logjam at fifth at 143 that included Korean Kim Gi Whan and Canada’s Richard Lee, who both had 71s, and Elmer Salvador, who rallied with a three-under 69, one of the day’s best three scores.
Salvador gunned down five birdies against two bogeys in another exacting day to emerge the best Filipino placer as Mars Pucay slid from joint third to 15th with a four-over 76 at 145.
Kemmer, the 25-year-old American who showed up the elite field with a flawless 66 on Thursday, suddenly found the going tough as he limped home with seven bogeys, including three-straight from No. 16 without a birdie to show. He wound up joining Pucay at 145.
Six players had 144 cards, including Fil-Am Carl Santos-Ocampo, who matched par for the second straight day to stay in the hunt for the top US$54,000 purse in this US$300,000 seventh leg of the Asian Tour sponsored by Solaire Resort and Casino.
Other even par scorers were Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka (73), Thai Gunn Charoenkul (71), Unho Park of Australia (71), Panuwat Muenlek, also of Thailand (70), and India’s Rahil Gangjee (69).
Teener Miguel Tabuena came through with a gutsy 72 to join Pucay and Kemmer at 145 along with Japan’s Yoshinobu Tsukada (73) and Daisuke Kataoka (75).
Sixty four players made the cut at 151 with Jay Bayron safely making it at 146 after a 72 along with other local bets Marvin Dumandan (72-149), Angelo Que (77-149), Tony Lascuna (77-150), amateur Ernesto Marcelo (76-150), Cassius Casas (76-151), Zanie Boy Gialon (77-151), Danny Zarate (76-151), Ferdie Aunzo (76-151) and Mhark Fernando (73-151).
Frankie Minoza, winner of the Philippine Open at Wack Wack in 2007, failed to recover from an opening 77 with a 78 and missed the cut with a 155.