Panasonic Open reduced to three rounds, Janewattananond takes lead

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond moved to the top of the leaderboard with seven-under after 32 holes, having completed 14 holes of the second round. He shot an opening-round three-under 69 and returned to the course and moved to seven-under with four to play.

Panasonic Open Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond

Janewattonanond is looking for his maiden triumph on the Asian Tour.   -  Special Arrangement

The weather relented and the tee-times stood revised but confusion remained among the players for much of the second day of the $400,000 Panasonic Open after it was decided to make it a 54-hole competition.

The cascading effect of a seven-hour delay, after four hours were lost to fog on Thursday, forced the tournament committee to cancel one round. That means, once the ‘cut’ is applied at the completion of the second round on Saturday, the top 65 players, plus those tied for the 65th spot, will play the money-round on Sunday.

As things stand, only six players have completed their second round and 112 will return on Saturday. Overnight leaders Jyoti Randhawa and Mukesh Kumar were among those who did not get to be on the course. In contrast, Khalin Joshi, who jumped to temporary lead with seven-under after an ‘eagle’ on the opening hole of the second round, ended up playing 26 holes!

As the Asian Tour Tournament Director Fritz Katzengruber put it, “The tournament has been affected due to persistent fog throughout the week. As a result, we have decided to reduce the tournament to 54 holes. The decision was made in the best interest of the tournament and our Asian Tour members.”

Amidst all the confusion, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond moved to the top of the leaderboard with seven-under after 32 holes, having completed 14 holes of the second round. He shot an opening-round three-under 69 and returned to the course and moved to seven-under with four to play.

Shubhankar Sharma and Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera, who completed 12 holes of their second round, shared the second spot with Randhawa and Mukesh at five-under. When the first round was completed this afternoon, Khalin, Shamim Khan and Rashid Khan joined Randhawa and Mukesh in the lead.

Since 60 professionals who completed their opening round on Friday had to rush back to the course for their second round, the clarity in the proceedings was lost.

Looking for his maiden triumph on the Asian Tour, Janewattonanond said, “We were trying to finish as much as we could. I just tried to play my best on every hole. I wasn’t thinking much. I am happy with where I stand now. I am just going to get some good rest as I have been waking up very early these few days,” said the 21-year-old Thai.

Khalin had an eventful 12-hole journey in the second round that began with an ‘eagle’. In the space of eight holes, beginning from the fourth, Khalin had a double-bogey, three bogeys and two birdies to slip from seven-under to four-under.

The scores (Indians unless stated):

Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) -7 after 32 holes; Shubhankar Sharma and Mithun Perera (Sri) -5 after 30 holes; Jyoti Randhawa, Mukesh Kumar -5 after 18; Rashid Khan, Shamim Khan -4 after 32; Khalin Joshi -4 after 31; Arjun Atwal -4 after 30.