Sung charges to top with a 66

Sung charges to top with a 66

Sung charges to top with a 66

Sung charges to top with a 66

Taichung, Taiwan—Local ace Sung Mao-Chang took charge with a six-under 66, going 2-up over erstwhile co-leader Tseng Tsu-Hao while Jay Bayron kept his hopes for a spot in the weekend play despite a 73 in the Daan TPGA Open at the Ching Chuan Kang Golf Club here yesterday.

Sung, one of the few who had completed play in the rain-hit first round of the $100,000 championship Thursday, rattled off five birdies in a six-hole stretch from No. 12 then bucked a three-putt mishap on No. 2 with birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 to match Tseng’s opening six-under card for the solo lead at 135. 

“I played relaxed all throughout and the course was very easy. All my drives, irons and putting are all good,” said Sung, 41, a two-time winner on the PGA of Taiwan (TPGA) and currently at No. 4 in the Order of Merit rankings. 

The weather had improved after a rainy opener with half of the starting 144-player field completing their first round play early yesterday, including Bayron, who groped for form with a 38 before play was stopped due to darkness Thursday but hit two birdies at resumption to save a 72. 

With hardly a rest, the lone Filipino entry in the first PGT Asia event overseas struggled and lost steam, fumbling with three bogeys against two birdies to finish with a 73 for a 145. 

That proved to be the current cutoff line when play has stopped due to darkness in another long day here with a number of players to complete their second round play early today.

Others with one-over total were Lin Wen-Ko (73), Yu Cheng-Yen (73), Kao Shang-Hung (72), Lin Chie-Hsiang (71), Chen Jung-Hsin (72), Chen Po Hao (73), Shen David (72), Thai Sriroj Thammanoon (72) and Chang Hsun Chen (71). 

“I was feeling good after completing my first round. But I missed a number of greens and putts at resumption,” said Bayron, who birdied Nos. 13 and 15 to go even par after the first round. 

He actually birdied the par-5 13th for the second time but bogeyed the next and dropped two more strokes on Nos. 3 and 6 before birdying the seventh. He also flubbed a birdie putt from close range on the ninth. 

The young Tseng, a bit edgy being in the lead, leaned on his long and short games to overcome his day-long struggle with putter, closing out with birdies on Nos. 5, 7 and 9 to stay in the thick of things after tumbling down with a bogey-riddled stint midway through the day. 

The 22-year-old Tseng, winless since he turned pro four years ago, went eight-under with back-to-back birdies from No. 12, only to fall back with bogeys on the next two. He dropped strokes on Nos. 17 and 4 but flashed some kind of resiliency with that solid finish. 

“I’m a bit nervous because I’m in the lead. I tried to play slowly and not too aggressive,” said Tseng, now one behind the new leader but vowed to make his charge. 

“Tomorrow (today), I’ll try to shoot more birdies,” he added, hopeful of regaining his putting touch that anchored his lead-sharing 66 Thursday. 

Joining him at 137 is Thai Polthai Tawit who rallied with a 67 while eight players, including Thai Namuangruk Kammalas (71) and American Tarik Can (70) pooled 139s.