India’s SSP Chawrasia virtually threw away a shot but still managed a share of the lead with four others at the midway stage of the Queen’s Cup in Koh Samui on Friday. Chawrasia, who signed for a bogey-free 68, actually birdied the par-4 ninth hole, but signed for a four.
Yet he was seven-under 135 and shared the lead with fellow Indian, Rashid Khan, home hero Prayad Marksaeng and Filipino Angelo Que, all of whom shot 70 each, and Juvic Pagunsan (69). The straight-hitting Chawrasia, winner of the second Indian Open in March this year, was in great nick as he produced an eagle and one birdie at Santiburi Samui Country Club.
A top-two finish in the USD 500,000 tournament here can push Chawrasia, a six-time Asian Tour winner, into top spot on the Merit list, which he has said is one of his goals for the year. Chawrasia said, “I’m playing good, it’s good going. I’m happy. The last two weeks, I’ve played well in England and Sweden except for the last round. I’m here and I’m in joint lead.
So I’m looking forward to the next two days. If I win it, I can be number one on the Order of Merit. If I can finish as number one, it’ll be my biggest achievement.”
“The putting has been a bit of a struggle. I’m hitting it good but need to putt better. I can win the tournament if I putt better. The greens are a bit slower than previous years. My confidence is high and I feel really good.”
Asked about his signing for a four, when he birdied the par-4 ninth, he said, “It’s my own fault. I didn’t check my scorecard. This is the second time it’s happened in my career.” Rashid Khan, who has gone back to his ‘baseball’ grip, landed an eagle on 12 with a hole-out from 138 yards with a nine iron. It kept him in the hunt for a third Asian Tour victory despite a cold putter, which he meant he 30 putts.