Chia moves into contention in Taipei

Danny Chia © Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour

Taipei: Calm and resolute in the face of swirling wind and rain, Danny Chia fought back with a battling 72 to move into contention at the halfway point of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Friday.

Chia’s two-day total of even-par 144 left him alongside Chinese Taipei hero Lin Wen-tang, a five-time Asian Tour winner, Bangladeshi Siddikur and Kalle Samooja of Finland, one shot behind the leading quintet of  Baek Seuk-hyun (73) of South Korea, Filipino veteran Antonio Lascuna (73) and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Shih-jui (73), overnight leader Lien Chi-wei (77) and Tsai Chi-huang, the only player to break par with a 69 at the US$600,000 Asian Tour event.

The Taiwan Golf and Country Club was swept by sporadic showers in the morning but strong gust of wind with speeds of over 30 kilometres per hour continued for the whole day with typhoon Jelawat expected to make landfall later in the evening.

The 39-year-old Malaysian hopes to relive the winning memories of his victory in the 2002 Taiwan Open but knows that he has to negotiate his way through the testing conditions if he is to claim a second Asian Tour win.

“I felt that I could have done better but the wind was blowing and the greens are quite tricky here. I missed a few very makeable birdie putts but I’m still pleased with how I played,” said Chia.

“It (wind) played a part for most of the day. Since I started teeing up, the wind was already blowing. It was even stronger on the back nine, to a point where my golf bag was on the floor and it flipped over!” he added.

Chia, who was the first Malaysian to play in all four rounds at the British Open two years ago, is confident that his experience playing in such conditions will translate into a positive outcome. “You still have a bit of chance to score here if you hit the ball low and run the ball up to the green. There’s a variety of ways to score on this golf course depending on the weather,” he noted.

Baek managed to hang on with four birdies compensating for three bogeys and one double bogey to put himself in strong position of winning his first Asian Tour title. “It wasn’t fun because is very windy and at any time, the wind can change direction,” said Baek. “It was raining for like five minutes, then it stopped, then it rained again. I had a double bogey because of the rain and it was so cold,” he added.

The halfway cut was set at six-over-par 150 with a total of 54 players making the weekend rounds.

Leading second round scores
143 – Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 70-73, Baek Seuk-hyun (KOR) 70-73, Wang Shih-jui (TPE) 70-73, Lien Chi-wei (TPE) 66-77, Tsai Chi-huang (TPE) 74-69
144 – Kalle Samooja (FIN) 71-73, Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 71-73,  Siddikur (BAN) 72-72, Danny Chia (MAS) 72-72
145 – Boonchu Ruangkit (THA) 73-72, Chen Tze-chung (TPE) 73-72, Angelo Que (PHI) 70-75, Yeh Wei-tze (TPE) 74-71, Adilson Da Silva (BRA) 73-72, Guido Van Der Valk (NED) 73-72
146 – David Lipsky (USA) 72-74, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 71-75