Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant showed the kind of form that took him to the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit this year by taking the second round lead in the US $300,000 Hero Honda Indian Open on Friday.
The 38-year-old struck a sweet six-under-par 66 at the Delhi Golf Club to lead by a stroke from Gerald Rosales of the Philippines, in with a 67, and India's Harmeet Kahlon, who shot an impressive 64. First round leader Anura Rohana from Sri Lanka fell back with a 75.
Thaworn is chasing his third title of the year and his third national Open of the season, having already claimed the Indonesian and Taiwan Opens.
"This is not really my kind of course as you need to hit it very straight off the tee and that is not something I do very well. I have not used my driver off the tee so that has helped. I hit 16 greens in regulation and missed two fairways," said Thaworn.
He started quietly on the back nine, making the turn in one under, but then sped up the leader board with a brace of five birdies on the inward stretch.
"I feel quite comfortable in the lead although I am sure there will be some big crowds at the weekend; so it's going to be hard work keeping concentration," added the Thai star, who leads on 10-under-par 134.
The Hero Honda Indian Open witnessed a welcome return to form for Rosales. The Filipino, brother of US LPGA Tour player Jennifer, lost his Asian Tour card last year and in 10 starts this year he has missed four cuts.
"The last time I was here was four years ago. After today's round I think I should be coming here more often. This course is pretty tight. You don't need to hit it long. Just keep it in play and make some putts," said Rosales.
The young Filipino finished second in the Philippine Open this season but is languishing in 83rd place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit list.
"Don't even bother looking for your ball if you go in the bushes because you won't find it. I have not lost a ball for the past two days so I am doing a good job," added Rosales, who birdied four holes on the trot from the 15th.
India's Arjun Atwal, winner of this event in 1999, made his move firing a 68 to lie at six under. Atwal, still on a high after a successful season on the US PGA Tour, is still taking time to acclimatize to the greens.
"I really have not got used to the greens yet. I had 32 putts which is very poor. It's just going to take a bit of time adjusting from the fast greens of the US PGA Tour," said Atwal.
"I missed at least three or four putts from 15 feet, leaving them all short," added the Indian.
South African Hendrik Buhrmann, Thailand's Prom Meesawat, Marcus Both from Australia and Indian Digvijay Singh finished the day on eight under.
Defending champion Mardan Mamat from Singapore fired a 72 to lie at one under.
"I am not badly placed going into the weekend at one under for the tournament but I reckon I need a couple of 65s now. I had a good chance today to make a move, but missed too many birdie chances. Missed about five good putt birdie putts," said Mamat.
The cut was made at level par with 74 players moving into the weekend rounds.
Leading second round scores:
134 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 68-66
135 - Gerald Rosales (PHI) 68-67, Harmeet Kahlon (IND) 71-64
136 - Hendrik Buhrmann (RSA) 66-70, Prom Meesawat (THA) 69-67, Marcus Both (AUS) 70-66, Digvijay Singh (IND) 66-70
137 - Gary Rusnak (USA) 69-68, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 67-70, Atthaphon Prathummanee (THA) 68-69, Gary Simpson (AUS) 68-69
138 - Craig Warren (AUS) 65-73, Arjun Atwal (IND) 70-68, Bryan Saltus (USA) 68-70
Scott Taylor (USA) 71-67, Rick Gibson (CAN) 73-65
139 - Shamim Khan (IND) 71-68, Anura Rohana (SRI) 64-75, Alistair Presnell (AUS) 69-70, Jaiveer Virk (IND) 68-71, C. Muniyappa (IND) 70-69, Somkiat Srisanga (THA) 71-68, Yusuf Ali (IND) 72-67, Shiv Kapur (IND) 70-69, Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 69-70, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 67-72.