S. Chikkarangappa tumbled nine places but was still the best Indian at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters at tied 18th position here today.
Chikka, who was tied-9th overnight with a round of 71, was weighed down by an early bogey on first and double bogey on fourth and carded 74 to be one-over 145 in tied-18th in tricky conditions at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
Four of the five Indians in the field made the cut as Chiragh Kumar (74-73) was tied-23rd, Shubhankar Sharma (75-73) was tied-32nd and Himmat Rai (72-78) slipped from tied-14th to tied-42nd. Rashid Khan withdrew before the start.
The halfway cut was set on seven-over-par 151 with a total of 51 players qualifying for the weekend rounds. Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat was rewarded for his patience when he fired a two-under-par 70 to lead by two shots at the halfway stage.
The 23-year-old traded four birdies against two bogeys to take charge on six-under-par 138 and put himself in prime position to challenge for a first Asian Tour title here.
Local star Lin Wen-tang, who won the event in 2009, Filipino Miguel Tabuena and Danthai Boonma of Thailand posted 68, 70 and 67 respectively to share second place on 140 at the USD 800,000 Asian Tour event which is celebrating its 30th edition.
Despite unfavourable conditions, Panuphol, nicknamed Coconut, kept a cool head and was rewarded with four birdies against two bogeys to stay ahead of the chasing pack. Lin, a five-time Asian Tour winner, kept up his chase for a second victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters after shooting five birdies against one bogey.
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