Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij stood tall among the giants when he posted a second round three-under-par 69 to share the clubhouse lead with Australia’s Wade Ormsby after play at the €2,205,000 (Approximately US$2.8 million) Ballantine’s Championship was suspended due to fading light on Friday.
Ormsby also continued his solid run following his maiden Asian Tour victory in India earlier this month by signing for a 67 to lead the field with his two-day total of seven-under-par 137 at the Blackstone Golf Club.
South Africa’s Jbe Kruger, who has one win on the Asian Tour, posted a 67 to take a share of third place with Sweden’s Alexander Noren and England’s James Morrison on 138 total.
77 players will return at 7.30am, local time on Saturday morning to complete their second round with the third round scheduled to start not before 11am.
After having his opening round disrupted by rains, Arnond returned in the morning to complete his remaining eight holes and quickly moved within a shot of the leaders with his first round efforts of 68.
The 25-year-old then started his second round on the back-nine 10th and continued where he left off by surging ahead with birdies on holes 15 and 18. After an outward 34, Arnond birdied the second hole before dropping a shot on the fourth hole.
He recovered well with another birdie on the fifth to move back to seven-under and also a share of the lead heading into the weekend rounds.
“The conditions were not easy, and the pins were kind of tough, especially with the wind blowing. So I'll take what I can get,” said Arnond.
“I'm just happy with the way I played and wherever the score stands, I'll still stick to my game plan tomorrow and go from there. I try not to have one, because, you know, if you just focus on your game, then it will always work out,” added the Thai.
Meanwhile Ormsby also returned in the morning to complete his remaining five holes from his opening round before heading back for his second round where he traded six birdies against a lone bogey.
“My game’s in a pretty good shape. Obviously I won a couple of weeks ago, took two weeks off and I’m now trying to keep that form going,” said Ormsby.
“The Ballantine’s Championship’s a big event but it’s still the same process, it's still playing golf. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and see where I finish up,” added Ormsby.
Inclement weather in the morning brought play to a halt again and when it finally resumed after more than an hour, Ormsby returned to the par-four second, only to dropped a shot there.
The 33-year-old, however, recovered well by coming home with two birdies in his last three holes.
“No player likes the stops and starts, because it's difficult to judge the pace of the green and get your rhythm going again,” said Ormsby.
“On that last restart, I went back out and was struggling with the pace of the green. I might have to take a couple extra look at the putt just to reassure myself that I've got the right pace,” added Ormsby.
Kruger’s affinity with the Blackstone Golf Club continued as he took advantage of his good drives to keep himself in contention for his second win on the Asian Tour which is celebrating its 10th season this year.
“This is a golf course where you need to get your distances. You can hit a couple yards left or right, but you need to hit it high and that's one of my strong points and that's why I like it,” said Kruger.
“The wind’s blowing a bit harder than yesterday, but I think it's the kind of course that if you're hitting it well, you can definitely go low. The greens are very good. If you hit them close, if you manage to hit them close, you'll definitely make a lot of birdies,” added Kruger.
The sixth edition of the Ballantine’s Championship will be the first event to be played in Korea on the Asian Tour this season and is once again sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Korea PGA.
Leading morning scores after round 2:
137 - Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 70-67, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 68-69.
138 - Alexander NOREN (SWE) 71-67, James MORRISON (ENG) 72-66, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 71-67.
139 - Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) 68-71.
140 - Matteo DELPODIO (ITA) 71-69, Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 70-70, KIM Hyung-sung (KOR) 71-69, Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 69-71, Marcus FRASER (AUS) 70-70, KANG Kyung-nam (KOR) 72-68, Magnus CARLSSON (SWE) 71-69, Brett RUMFORD (AUS) 73-67, WU Ashun (CHN) 75-65, JOO Heung-chol (KOR) 70-70.
141 - Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 72-69, Lee SLATTERY (ENG) 70-71, HU Mu (CHN) 72-69, Gregory HAVRET (FRA) 71-70.
142 - Paul LAWRIE (SCO) 75-67
143 - Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 71-72