Ajeetesh Sandhu of India
India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu made his move up the leaderboard by signing for a second round three-under-par 69 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend rounds at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Friday.
Sandhu, who started his round one shot off the pace, mixed his card with five birdies and two bogeys to post a two-day total of seven-under-par 137 at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
That gave him a slim advantage over Argentina’s Miguel Carballo, who made his return to the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in the most convincing way by firing a 66 to take clubhouse lead earlier in the morning.
Carballo missed the cut in his debut at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club last year but is now back as an Asian Tour winner- after lifting his maiden title in Indonesia last month and is among the genuine contenders for the title this week.
Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena overcame an early scare where he dropped two shots in his opening three holes by recovering quickly with three birdies on holes four, five and six before returning with a 72 to take outright third place, two shots back of Sandhu.
India’s S. Chikkarangappa, who missed two consecutive cuts in his last two events, found relief as he also progressed into the weekend rounds after posting a 71 to take a share of sixth place.
The weekend cut was set at two-over par with 57 players progressing to the final two rounds.
Did you know?
- Ajeetesh Sandhu is a one-time winner on the Asian Tour. A week after claiming his first Asian Tour title in Chinese Taipei in 2017, Sandhu went on to win the Taiheiyo Club Challenge Tournament on the Japan Challenge Tour.
- The Indian notched three top-10 finishes in 2018 to finish in 28th position on the Order of Merit.
- Sandhu’s second-place finish at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open in Bangladesh is his best result so far this season.
- Argentinian Miguel Carballo hit 12 greens (66.67%) and needed only 24 putts today. He made one chip in for birdie on 10.
- Carballo won the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit in 2018 to secure a card for this year’s Asian Tour season.
- He made his breakthrough on the Asian Tour when he won the Bank BRI Indonesia Open last month.
- Carballo is the ninth player on the ADT to go on to win on the Asian Tour and his three-shot victory is the largest margin on the Asian Tour so far this season.
- A two-time champion on the ADT, Carballo won the Singha Laguna Phuket Open in 2019 and the Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament in 2018.
- Since turning pro in 2002 the 40-year-old Argentinian has also won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour, the 2007 Movistar Panama Championship and the 2011 Children’s Hospital Classic.
- His best year on that Tour was in 2011 when he finished 10th on the Money List securing a card for the 2012 PGA Tour, where he also played in 2014 and 2016-2017.
- Miguel Tabuena’s best result at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters came in 2016 when he finished second. He posted a final round 70 to finish one shot back of eventual champion Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei then.
- Tabuena’s best result to date this season was his fifth-place finish at the Sarawak Championship in August.
- Tabuena won his first Asian Tour title on home soil in 2015. He became the first Filipino to win his National Open since 2008 at just 21-years-old.
- India’s Chikkarangappa S., better known on Tour as “Chikka” had his best finish of this year’s Asian Tour at the Hero Indian Open in March where he finished tied-10th at the European Tour co-sanctioned event.
- This season he has also won two titles on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), the Golconda Masters Championship and the Delhi-NCR Open Golf Championship.
- Although he is still looking for his first Asian Tour victory, Chikka came very close at the end of last year when he finished tied-second at the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita in December.
- The 26-year-old Indian has won two titles on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), the Take Solutions India Masters in 2014 and 2015.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind) Second round 69 (-3) Total 137 (-7)
I’m absolutely pleased with how I’ve played the last two days and now taking a one-shot lead into the weekend. It’s always nice to be leading a tournament but there’s still a long way to go. I played pretty solid for the first two rounds and just want to continue the same and see where that will take me to. I didn’t play too well on the par-five and I’m disappointed with that. But overall, it was still solid as I hit most of the fairways and greens. I missed a few of them but that’s to be expected in golf. Obviously, this is a country where I’ve won before and that feeling definitely adds to the positive vibes I have this week.
Miguel Carballo (Arg) Second round 66 (-6) Total 138 (-6)
I’m gaining a lot of confidence especially after my win in Indonesia last month. I feel like my game is becoming sharper. Especially today with my tee shots followed by my second shot I missed the cut here last year so I’m obviously very happy that I’m not only in the weekend but also in contention. Your ball control has to be very good on this golf course and obviously when the wind blows, you need to know how to handle it well.
Miguel Tabuena (Phi) Second round 72 (Even) Total 139 (-5)
I was on fire yesterday but today, I didn’t hit it that well and I gave a lot of shots away. But there are still two more days and I’m happy with my position now. I know what I’m capable of doing and I’m prepared for the weekend. I’ve played well here before and it’s nice to know that. That gives you confidence and it’s what I know I have right now too.
S.Chikkarangappa (Ind) Second round 71 (-1) Total 141 (-3)
It’s always good when you shoot an under-par score on this golf course any day. I had several birdie opportunities today but just didn’t convert them. It feels good to be playing in the weekend again. Especially having missed the cut right at the number in my last two events. Golf is a patient game and I just have to do that and hopefully my time will come.
Scores after round 2 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am – denotes amateur):
137 – Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 68-69.
138 – Miguel Carballo (ARG) 72-66.
139 – Miguel Tabuena (PHI) 67-72.
140 – Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 71-69, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA) 72-68.
141 – Keith Horne (RSA) 67-74, S. Chikkarangappa (IND) 70-71, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 70-71, Prom Meesawat (THA) 71-70, Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) 72-69.
142 – Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 71-71, Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 71-71, Chiu Han-ting (TPE) 72-70, Seungjae Maeng (USA) 74-68, Yikeun Chang (KOR) 74-68, Wang Wei-lun (TPE) 69-73.
143 – Adilson Da Silva (BRA) 72-71, Scott Hend (AUS) 73-70, Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 71-72, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 70-73, Danny Chia (MAS) 71-72, Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 70-73, Rashid Khan (IND) 72-71, Chiragh Kumar (IND) 72-71, Rory Hie (INA) 70-73, Danthai Boonma (THA) 69-74, Panuphol Pittayarat (THA) 70-73, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 67-76