The three-time European Tour winner from Thailand had shared the first round lead after an opening 64 and followed that up with a solid 68 to move to a 12 under total, one stroke clear of Englishman Laurie Canter, who carded a 66, and Francesco Laporta, who came in with a 65 in the final group of the day.
Adam Scott of Australia was in fourth place on ten under after a 69, while Justin Rose was one of three players in a share of fifth place on nine under, the Englishman chasing a victory which would guarantee his place on Pádraig Harrington’s European team for the Ryder Cup in two weeks’ time.
Shane Lowry and Bernd Wiesberger, meanwhile, both improved on their opening round performances with impressive second rounds as they each target a Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits.
Irishman Lowry – who requires a strong result to secure his place on the plane to Wisconsin – carded a six under 66 on Wentworth Club’s famous West Course to move to eight under, while Wiesberger signed for a five under 67 for a six under total as he attempts to jump into the automatic qualifying spots in the final counting event.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat: “I’m really proud of the way I’m playing in the first two rounds. A lot of good stuff in there. This golf course – you can hit a lot of birdies but it can hurt you if you’re out of position. I tried to play for more fairways, more greens. My putter was rolling well this week and I’m really pleased.
“I just go out there and really enjoy the moment – I play freely and swing it well, striking the ball well, and enjoying every second. I didn’t have any expectation in my head the whole day.
“I don’t want to set a goal to be honest (for the weekend). I just want to go out there and swing, do what I’ve been doing the first two rounds. Do the same thing I’m doing, try to hit fairways, greens. Whatever the result, at the end of the day, I just accept.”
Laurie Canter: “I just played pretty solid, really. Hit it pretty well off the tee, in the correct spots on time and into the greens, just a question of being patient and getting the putter to work for you, which it did today.
“Honestly if I knew (what the difference is this week), I would tell you, but I don’t. It’s golf. I don’t think there’s much of a difference between playing well and not, it’s not much. If you’re out here, you’re capable of shooting a low number. I think sometimes just getting up-and-down at the right time, hitting the green at the right time, all that kind of stuff and momentum is huge.”
Francesco Laporta: “It was a nice finish in the dark, played solid today. It was nice to finish with a birdie and another weekend and it’s going to be great tomorrow.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played in front of all these types of crowds. It’s great to see so many people, and yesterday was nice. I really enjoyed it.
“I made a couple of up-and-downs. It was great to get off with two pars on the first and the second and after that, just fantastic golf, I think I only made a couple bad shots and it was perfect. My short game was pretty good. Just try to keep it going for the weekend.”
Justin Rose: “I’m really happy, had a lot more birdie chances. I had a lot yesterday but the putter was just a little bit off today and I had to fight that little bit and had to make a few little adjustments with my posture I felt coming in, and to be honest I made a little putt on 15, momentum, and made one on 18. Hopefully I righted the ship and can ride that into the weekend. But put myself in great position now.
“It’s motivating me but it’s not going to help me play better by thinking about it too much. I’ve got a job to do on the golf course as I always try to do and sometimes you do a better job blocking things out than other times. At least I’m in the tournament now where I can focus on that being the goal without The Ryder Cup being a part of that. It would be more frustrating if there were other scenarios in play, like a top ten, something to cloud the judgment.”
Shane Lowry: “Came here with a little bit of pressure on me needing to perform and play well and I’ve done that the first two days. I’m pretty happy, to be honest. Yesterday I came off the golf course feeling like I probably should have shot better than 2-under. I know 66 is pretty good around here but I probably could have shot a couple lower, but 6-under into the weekend, under the circumstances, yeah, pretty happy with that.
“I’m trying to focus on my own game. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve shown. Obviously, I want to make the team automatically. I think I’ve played some really good golf over the last few months to put my hat in for a pick on Sunday evening if I do need one.
“I’m here to win the golf tournament. Obviously, I’m here to make the Ryder Cup team as well, but I really feel like this course, it doesn’t owe me anything because I’ve had some great results around here. I’d love to win this tournament because it’s just so big. It’s our biggest event in Europe. I’ve been close a few times and it would be great to be standing on that 18th green on Sunday with that trophy.”
Bernd Wiesberger: “It was a good Friday, felt comfortable out there, quite steady all day. Gave myself a lot of chances late in the front nine. Didn’t get ahead of myself when I missed a few holes opportunities, and really kind of kick-started and holed a long one on 11, as you can see, got the round going. Really good day, I stayed quite patient.
“I’m still in the golf tournament and I’m in good position, trying to push forward to keep doing what we did the first two days. I played really steady golf and felt that was under control for the most part. You know, putts started to drop and I feel comfortable out there. I want to see myself closer to the top of the leaderboard come the weekend.”
Round Two scores:
132 K APHIBARNRAT (THA) 64 68,
133 L CANTER (ENG) 67 66, F LAPORTA (ITA) 68 65,
134 A SCOTT (AUS) 65 69,
135 J DONALDSON (WAL) 69 66, J ROSE (ENG) 67 68, B HORSCHEL (USA) 70 65,
136 F ZANOTTI (PAR) 70 66, M KAWAMURA (JPN) 67 69, T PIETERS (BEL) 70 66, C BEZUIDENHOUT (RSA) 64 72, S LOWRY (IRL) 70 66, M ARMITAGE (ENG) 70 66,
137 N H?JGAARD (DEN) 70 67, S HORSFIELD (ENG) 72 65, J HANSEN (DEN) 69 68, M JIM?NEZ (ESP) 68 69, T PULKKANEN (FIN) 70 67,
138 R FISHER (ENG) 71 67, M SCHWAB (AUT) 69 69, M KAYMER (GER) 70 68, B WIESBERGER (AUT) 71 67, P LARRAZ?BAL (ESP) 68 70, M KORHONEN (FIN) 70 68,
139 K SAMOOJA (FIN) 70 69, W ORMSBY (AUS) 73 66, V HOVLAND (NOR) 72 67, T FLEETWOOD (ENG) 71 68, D GAVINS (ENG) 70 69, S CROCKER (USA) 71 68, R MCGOWAN (ENG) 70 69, A JOHNSTON (ENG) 70 69, J VEERMAN (USA) 73 66, T DETRY (BEL) 69 70, A BJ?RK (SWE) 69 70, S SHARMA (IND) 70 69,
140 N ELVIRA (ESP) 70 70, G MCDOWELL (NIR) 71 69, A NOREN (SWE) 70 70, L WESTWOOD (ENG) 70 70, H STENSON (SWE) 69 71, R CABRERA BELLO (ESP) 71 69, A RAI (ENG) 70 70, D BURMESTER (RSA) 70 70, J LAGERGREN (SWE) 70 70, D HORSEY (ENG) 72 68, D DRYSDALE (SCO) 70 70, E MOLINARI (ITA) 73 67, S GALLACHER (SCO) 73 67, J LUITEN (NED) 68 72, J WALTERS (RSA) 70 70,
141 R RAMSAY (SCO) 71 70, B STONE (RSA) 72 69, A OTAEGUI (ESP) 72 69, D WILLETT (ENG) 70 71, D LAW (SCO) 72 69, J SURI (USA) 69 72, J STALTER (FRA) 72 69, P WARING (ENG) 73 68, M FITZPATRICK (ENG) 72 69, L BJERREGAARD (DEN) 73 68, J SENIOR (ENG) 70 71,
142 O WILSON (ENG) 69 73, A LEVY (FRA) 75 67, S BROWN (ENG) 70 72, G COETZEE (RSA) 73 69, M KIEFFER (GER) 72 70, J WINTHER (DEN) 69 73, R ROUSSEL (FRA) 70 72, R ROCK (ENG) 72 70, J SMITH (ENG) 71 71, M SOUTHGATE (ENG) 70 72, R FOX (NZL) 73 69, A ROZNER (FRA) 77 65, G FORREST (SCO) 70 72, R BLAND (ENG) 74 68, V PEREZ (FRA) 76 66, F MOLINARI (ITA) 69 73, D HOWELL (ENG) 71 71,
143 R JACQUELIN (FRA) 69 74, R MACINTYRE (SCO) 74 69, T HATTON (ENG) 74 69, L DONALD (ENG) 75 68, A CHESTERS (ENG) 75 68, J JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 72 71, I POULTER (ENG) 72 71, A ARNAUS (ESP) 71 72, M JORDAN (ENG) 73 70, H PORTEOUS (RSA) 72 71,
144 N BERTASIO (ITA) 73 71, R PARATORE (ITA) 76 68, C WOOD (ENG) 75 69, B HEBERT (FRA) 73 71, J CATLIN (USA) 72 72, A SULLIVAN (ENG) 74 70, A MERONK (POL) 72 72, K KITAYAMA (USA) 73 71, J CALDWELL (NIR) 71 73, P HANSON (SWE) 72 72,
145 A QUIROS (ESP) 71 74, C HILL (SCO) 78 67, T OLESEN (DEN) 70 75, J CAMPILLO (ESP) 71 74, C SHINKWIN (ENG) 75 70, R LANGASQUE (FRA) 73 72, C SHARVIN (NIR) 76 69, G HIGGO (RSA) 72 73,
146 S KJELDSEN (DEN) 74 72, S JAMIESON (SCO) 74 72, P HARRINGTON (IRL) 72 74, M PAVON (FRA) 73 73, J GUERRIER (FRA) 74 72, R SANTOS (POR) 77 69, C PAISLEY (ENG) 72 74, B GRACE (RSA) 75 71, J MORRISON (ENG) 77 69,
147 W NIENABER (RSA) 73 74, L GAGLI (ITA) 76 71, N COLSAERTS (BEL) 72 75, G MIGLIOZZI (ITA) 71 76, M WALLACE (ENG) 74 73, M CORT (ENG) 73 74,
148 G STORM (ENG) 75 73, Z LOMBARD (RSA) 75 73, G GREEN (MAS) 78 70, S V?LIM?KI (FIN) 73 75, M WARREN (SCO) 70 78,
149 M LEE (AUS) 75 74, S HEND (AUS) 78 71, R MCEVOY (ENG) 77 72, T BJ?RN (DEN) 73 76, S SODERBERG (SWE) 75 74,
150 T AIKEN (RSA) 80 70, T LEWIS (ENG) 76 74,
151 D VAN TONDER (RSA) 72 79, J HARDING (RSA) 75 76,
152 O FISHER (ENG) 75 77, R H?JGAARD (DEN) 81 71, R KARLSSON (SWE) 74 78, M KINHULT (SWE) 80 72,
153 M LORENZO-VERA (FRA) 79 74,
162 A PAVAN (ITA) 87 75,