Golf: Kim Bi-o holds off Thai assault at Laguna Phuket in Asian Tour restart

BANGKOK (AFP) – South Korea’s Kim Bi-o has retained the club house lead on day two of the Laguna Phuket Championship despite topsy turvy form on the fairways on Friday (Dec 3).

The 31-year-old carded a four-under 66 and is on 12-under 128, two strokes ahead of Thailand’s Chanachok Dejpiratanamongkol (67).

The assault from home turf hopefuls continued with Phachara Khongwatmai a stroke further back after firing 65, one better than Panuphol Pittayarat and Natipong Srithong, who both shot 64.

Kim fired seven birdies but came unstuck with a bogey on the tenth hole and a double bogey on the 17th where his tee shot strayed into pine trees and hit woodwork twice.

“It was one of those days when I could have done much better but luckily today is over and I will regroup tomorrow,” Kim said.

This week’s US$1 million (S$1.37 million) tournament on the popular Thai holiday island marks the second Asian Tour tee-off since the Malaysian Open in March 2020.

Chanachok, in second place overall, notched up a birdie and eagle.

“This week my up and down game is really good, and my iron game is also good, but the best thing for me is putting, I have not three putted yet,” he said.

The 27-year-old, who won the Singha Phuket Open in 2017 at the course, added that he was considering taking a break from the game as he is expecting a child next year.

Meanwhile, two-time Asian Tour winner Panuphol – who goes by the nickname “Coconut” – found momentum with four birdies in a row from 10th followed by an eagle on the 14th.

Last week, Taiwan’s Chan Shih-chang sealed a gripping last-hole victory in the Blue Canyon event.

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