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Min Woo Lee and David Micheluzzi three off pace in Singapore

Jin well placed for a second title (Photo: Asia Pacific Amateur )
Australian golfers Min Woo Lee and David Micheluzzi share 7th place as the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship heads into the weekend at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore, the pair three shots behind the joint leaders Cheng Jin of China and Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines.

Lee is the leading world ranked golfer in this week’s field and after an opening round of 66 on day one he appeared on track to take the 36-hole lead before a mid-round hiccup on day two. He recovered late in the day and is nicely poised to challenge for the title over the weekend.

Micheluzzi was unable to capitalise on his opening round of 6 under par 64, his second round of 71 including a costly bogey at the last but both he and Lee are well enough placed heading into the weekend.

China’s Jin and Go of the Philippines shot matching rounds of three-under-par 67 during the second round on Friday to open a slender one-shot lead over the field.

At the halfway stage of the region’s premier amateur golf tournament, which is being played at the par-70 New Tanjong course of Sentosa Golf Club, Jin, the 2015 champion and Go are tied on top at eight-under-par 132.

 Korea’s Ha Jin-Bo (67) and China’s Bai Zheng Kai (67) are tied in third place at seven-under-par 133.

 Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, the highest-ranked Asian player in the world at No. 10, made his move with a four-under-par 66 round to move into a tie for fifth place at six under par where he is tied with fellow countryman K.K Limbhasut  

India’s Rayhan Thomas matched the low round of the tournament (six-under 64 set by Micheluzzi on Thursday) and bounced back into contention at two under par, just six shots behind the leaders.

 Motivated to win the championship again so that he can make a second trip to the Masters – and his first to The Open, next year at Royal Portrush – Jin was happy with the fact that he managed to limit his mistakes in the opening two rounds to just two bogeys.

 “The chance of getting back to the Masters motivates me to play better. But I am trying not to think of that in-between the shots. I don’t want to do anything fancy over the next two days and just try and stick to my process,” said the 20-year-old who won a team silver and an individual bronze for China at the recently concluded Asian Games in Jakarta.

 “It was a good day. I made some mistakes off the tee but my short game was there for some good recoveries and I am very pleased with that.”

The 23-year-old Go made bogeys on the eighth and the 13th holes, but five birdies elsewhere ensured he would finish the day tied at the top.

Go is a player good enough to have won the Dogwood Invitational and Princeton Invitational in the US during his time at college there although his formative years in the game were while living in Cebu City in the Philippines.

No Filipino golfer has ever finished in the top five of the AAC, with Go’s T-8 finish at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in 2015 being the best to date.

 Go, making his sixth and last AAC appearance, said: “I did not expect this at all. I wasn’t playing too well before the tournament and I took some time off. But I have played well so far and that is the most important thing.

 “Today was an up-and-down round. I made some mistakes and also made some good saves. The key for the weekend would be to try and find as many fairways as possible so we can get some spin on our approach shots. The greens are firming up and it is becoming harder to hold the ball.”

Of the other Australians Zach Murray is in 23rd place while Dylan Perry is 28th and Blake Windred is 36th.

Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb withdrew from the event, an opening round of 70 followed up by dropping four shots over his opening nine holes of round two before being forced from the course with heatstroke.  

The 10th edition of the region’s premier amateur golf tournament – organized by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A – is being played at Sentosa Golf Club’s New Tanjong course, with the final round on Sunday.

 The AAC winner earns an invitation to the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club and a place in The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019, provided he retains his amateur status. The runner(s)-up will gain a spot in The Open Qualifying Series.

 

RULES: LEAVING THE FLAGSTICK IN

 

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