With two hours lost to heavy early morning rain, 30 players were unable to complete their Asian Amateur Championship second rounds on Friday at the Singapore Island Country Club. So those hovering around the cut mark – probably 6- or 7-over – will face anxious waits, or pressure-packed final holes early on Saturday morning.
At the business end of the Asian Amateur Championship leaderboard, Ben Campbell leads by three on 11-under after bogey-free rounds of 67 and then 66, although he looked pretty unimpressed with the only shot I saw him hit live on the 4th tee yesterday. Didn’t stop him saving par though.
Malaysia’s Kenneth Christian John de Silva described Thursday’s 67 as his “best round ever” and was on the verge of completing what must be his “second best round ever” at 3-under for the day and 8-under overall with one 2nd round hole to go.
Some of the bigger names in the field are handily placed too, with defending champion Hideki Matsuyama lying 5th at 6-under, and Korea’s colourful Eric Chun, who qualified for the Turnberry Open in 2010, moving up with a 69.
Singapore locals Zhiqun Lam and Tze Huang Choo are also in the top 10 after rounds of 66 and 72 respectively.
But for young Samoan, Niko Vui, the Asian Amateur Championship dream for 2011 is over. With three holes to go, the cut was still just within reach, but a hooked drive on 16 led to triple bogey, and despite good birdie chances on his final two holes, a second successive 78 saw him miss out.
He’ll almost certainly be back next year at Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand, where it has just been announced next year’s Asian Amateur Championship will take place in the first week of November.
With the young Samoan now gone, a new viewing strategy is needed for the Asian Amateur Championship weekend, so I’ve decided to devote Saturday to the player from the most unlikely golfing nation to make the cut – probably Yan Myo Aye of Myanmar if the cut drifts to 7-over, or Sri Lanka’s Thangaraja Nadaraja if he can hold on at 6-over.
Then on Sunday, I’ll follow the leading groups, to see just how well the Asia-Pacific region’s top amateurs can play under the pressure of contending for the prestigious Asian Amateur Championship title… and of course, that dream spot in next year’s Masters!