Lahiri one-shot behind leader Hung at Venetian Macao Open

Aniban Lahiri 05 WWHSM 180914Macao: Defending champion Anirban Lahiri continued with his form as he carded four-under 67 to remain one-shot behind leader Hung Chien-yao of Chinese Taipei who produced a scintillating seven-under-par 64 for the halfway lead at the Venetian Macao Open on Friday.

Others chasing Hung include Korea’s Jeunghun Wang (68), Brazilian Adilson Da Silva (65) and Chiragh Kumar of India (66).

World number 39 Lahiri accumulated an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys to stay on track to successfully defend his title. The Indian star was disappointed though to drop a shot at his last hole.

“It leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I hit a good drive and just got stuck in a terrible lie and it was a bad five,” Lahiri said. “I think I played well, pretty similar to yesterday. But the couple of times I missed the fairway, I found some difficult lies in the rough.”

A four iron approach from 241 yards out set him up for easy eagle and the current Order of Merit leader is hoping his putter will find its full range this weekend. “Every time I hit it close, I didn’t make a putt. I’m in a similar position again (as last year). Hopefully I don’t make these silly mistakes,” he said.

Meanwhile, unheralded 23-year-old Hung Chien-yao enjoyed a flawless round with seven birdies at the Macau Golf and Country Club to lead the US$1 million Asian Tour tournament with a two-day total of 10-under-par 132.

Hung, who finished tied fifth at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters two weeks ago, said playing with no expectation has been the secret to his good run at the Venetian Macao Open.

“Everything feels good. Driver, irons and putting were good, especially the putting,” said Hung who is leading for the first time on the Asian Tour. “I didn’t push myself and didn’t tell myself that I have to play good. I was relaxed and enjoyed the day. The first six months of the year, I was giving myself too much pressure.”

A lesson with short game guru Dave Stockton in the U.S. recently also put some perspective in Hung’s game. “I changed my attitude. I had a lesson with Dave Stockton and he’s telling me that that we’re humans and we make mistakes and that we should enjoy our golf. I just found my confidence back. I know Anirban from a long time and he’s a superstar right now. I’ll try to learn from him if we play together.”

Scores after round 2 of the Venetian Macau Open 2015 being played at the par 71, 6,604 Yards Macau GCC course (am - denotes amateur):

132 - HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 68-64.
133 - Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 66-67, Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 65-68, Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 67-66, Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 68-65.
134 - Scott HEND (AUS) 66-68, Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 68-66.
135 - Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 64-71, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 67-68, LEE Sung (KOR) 70-65, Rashid KHAN (IND) 70-65.
136 - Charlie WI (KOR) 67-69, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 69-67.
137 - Paul PETERSON (USA) 70-67, Ben LEONG (MAS) 71-66, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 69-68, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 69-68, Abhijit CHADHA (IND) 67-70.
138 - Peter EROFEJEFF (FIN) 72-66, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 72-66, Jaco AHLERS (RSA) 68-70, David LIPSKY (USA) 71-67, LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 69-69, S.S.P CHAWRASIA (IND) 70-68, Niall TURNER (IRL) 70-68, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 67-71, Javi COLOMO (ESP) 66-72, LEE Chieh-po (TPE) 68-70, Akinori TANI (JPN) 70-68.