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Wiratchant grabs lead

March 26, 2005 08:53 IST

Arjun Atwal struggled with his new driver as Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant holed out from the fairway for an eagle at his last hole to soar into a one-stroke lead in the Indonesia Open in Jakarta on Friday.

Overnight co-leaders Atwal and Irishman Michael Hoey were 10-under for the tournament through 13 and nine holes respectively on the second day, which was disrupted by lightning.

Sixty-four players would return Saturday morning to complete their second rounds.

Wiratchant endured a marathon day where he played 24 holes, first to complete his weather-delayed first round in seven-under-par 63 in the morning before matching that brilliant effort in his second round at Cengkareng Golf Club.

Atwal was one of the very few who was delighted that play was suspended for the day much before schedule. He was wayward with his new driver and battled to two under through 13 holes of his second round and 10-under for the tournament.

"I wasn't playing good, my driver doesn't feel great. The grip is a bit thin and I've not been happy with my driving and that just falls on the rest of the game," Atwal said.

"I'm alright as I'm two under for the round and not too far back. I figure I need a thicker grip. I think I found something as I hit some good drives on the back nine before the suspension of play," said the Indian, who was Asia's number one in 2003.

Wiratchant's 14-under-par 126 total was one clear of Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, who was equally impressive with a 62 in the USD 1 million event jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

Scotsman Colin Montgomerie, needing a win here to earn a Masters invitation next month, was right on the projected cut mark of three-under through 13 holes of his second round.

Australian Terry Pilkadaris, who was in contention in the TCL Classic in China last week before fading to equal 12th place, moved into the title frame again, firing a 64 for a nine-under-par 131 aggregate.

Tied with Pilkadaris were Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, who shot a 67 and Australian Adam Fraser, who returned a 65.

Current Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee was seven-under for the event through 13 holes while Chinese ace Zhang Lian-wei completed his second round with a 67 for a six-under aggregate.

Japan's Satoshi Tomiyama produced the tournament's first hole-in-one at the par three 194-yard eighth hole with a five iron en route to a 63.

Leading second round scores:

126 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 63-63

127 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 65-62

131 - Adam Fraser (AUS) 66-65, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 67-64,

Raphakl Jacquelin (FRA) 64-67

132 - Darren Griff (CAN) 70-62, Satoshi Tomiyama (JPN) 69-63,

Terry Price (AUS) 66-66, Daniel Vancsik (ARG) 66-66

133 - Mahal Darren Pearce (NZL) 66-67, Unho Park (AUS) 67-66,

Hennie Otto (RSA) 67-66, Stephen Browne (IRL) 67-66

134 - Thammanoon Srirot (THA) 68-66, Zhang Lian-wei (CHN)

67-67, Clay Devers (USA) 67-67

135 - Kao Bo-song (TPE) 70-65, Ted Oh (KOR) 67-68, Paul Marantz (AUS) 66-69.

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