Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat’s maturity was on display once again today when he comfortably handled the pressure of putting together a solid round the day after a super low score when he added a second round two-under-par 70 to his opening 63 to share the lead at the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup.
The young Thai maestro moved to 11 under, on the Waterside Course at Siam Country Club, along with Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen, who also shot 70 – the ideal way to celebrate her birthday.
The pair had shared the overnight lead in the US$750,000 tournament which marks the first time the Asian Tour have staged a mixed event, as it is being jointly sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour (LET).
“There was a lot more wind today than yesterday, so tough conditions but overall I am not really happy with the way I played,” said 15-year-old Ratchanon.
“It wasn’t a great round, but it wasn’t that bad either. I scrambled two under and I am still in the lead, which is okay, but I could have been better.”
He was even for his round, which he started on 10, with five to play but made birdies on five and six to put himself in a very strong position heading into the weekend.
He added: “I am still happy with how I played yesterday considering how little I prepared for this tournament. Today I was trying to build on as much as possible and not lose many strokes.
“[For the weekend] I am just going to try and play like yesterday and go as deep as possible and play with less pressure.”
Nuutinen turned 31 today and like Ratchanon held firm at the top as she goes in search of her first LET win.
“I found the conditions a bit tougher today. The morning conditions were super windy, but now it’s dying down a bit and a couple of pins were tucked,” she said.
“It is my birthday today. I will see what the girls have planned for me later on. The problem is I might enjoy the practice facilities too much, so I need my caddie to make sure I get on the bus to go to the hotel.”
She made four birdies and two bogeys, as did Ratchanon.
Bio Kim from Korea, South African Ian Snyman and Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai are one shot back after rounds of 67, 67 and 69 respectively. Thailand’s Arpichaya Yubol carded a 68 and is a further stroke behind with American Paul Peterson (66).
“Finished two rounds with double digits, which is always good and I am happy I am getting an interview which is always good. My game is on and off, my ball striking is a bit iffy. I was missing here and there with some of the shots, somehow, I got out of it and capitalized on the chances I had,” said Kim.
“At the moment I am not trying to go get something, I am trying to focus on my game. One shot at a time. To be honest with my ball striking and rhythm I need to get a little more sharper to reach the goals I want to achieve.
“I am losing shots to the right, somehow I got to fix it and go to the range, maybe a timing issue.”
Said Phachara: “Today my game was good although I made a double bogey. Overall, my performance over two days is acceptable and as planned. The only thing to improve is my putting. Will have to practice more on this. There was no problem with the windy condition, I am used to it. The remaining two days I will fight and keep to my ow game plan.”
The 22-year-old Thai star won the Laguna Phuket Championship in December for his first win on the Asian Tour.
American Sihwan Kim, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, returned his second successive 68 and is just three behind the leaders.
Last season’s Merit list champion Joohyung Kim from Korea impressed with a 65 and is seven under.