Randhawa grabs lead
CARMONA, Cavite— Indian veteran Jyoti Randhawa just can’t make a mistake.
The 44-year-old Randhawa, winless on the Asian Tour in seven years, fired a seven-under-par 65 yesterday to peel away from a five-man tie and take a two-shot lead over two young Thais at the halfway mark of the $1-million Resorts World Manila Masters.
With the talented field mastering the picturesque Manila Southwoods Masters layout here for the second straight day, Randhawa stood out with his flawless play, gunning 15 birdies in all since the opening round for a 129 aggregate and the Tour’s lowest 36-hole score this season.
“I just told myself to do what I did yesterday [in the first round],” said Randhawa, who teed off early and benefited from the ideal scoring conditions. “I found the rhythm in my swing [in the first round] and just stuck with that.”
Sootijet Kooratanapisan and Tirawat Kaewsiribandit returned similar 66s for 131s, with another Indian, SSP Chawrasia, riding a solid finish to record a 64 and be in the mix, just another stroke behind.
A third Thai, Sattaya Supupramai, who only has one Top 20 finish this season, highlighted a course record-equaling 63 with seven straight birdies for 133, in a tie with countryman Pachara Khongwatmai who fired a 66.
Miguel Tabuena and Antonio Lascuña anchored the Filipino challenge and will come into the weekend with 137s after rounds of 70 and 68, respectively.
Rufino Bayron, who opened with a 66 on Thursday, added a 73 to be at 139, with Albin Engino, a former caddy at Marapara in Bacolod, shooting a 68 to be a rung better at 138.
The Jack Nicklaus-created gem in Carmona was at the mercy of the field again, making the halfway cut—pegged at four-under 140 and ties—the Tour’s second lowest this season.
Chawrasia, the reigning Indian Open champion, carded 11 birdies for the day to stand out like Supupramai.
A handful of Filipino bets tipped at the start to contend for the title just couldn’t keep up with the scorching scoring.
Clyde Mondilla, just two shots off the pace overnight after a 66, turned in a 76 and failed to get under the wire like former Philippine Open winners Elmer Salvador and Cassius Casas.
Juvic Pagunsan retired after six holes reportedly because of a right wrist injury.
He fired a 75 on Thursday.