Chan holds off Granberg

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Chan Yih-shin needed a four-under-par 67 to hold on to his slender one-stroke lead after round two of the Macau Open.

Overnight leader Chan Yih-shin has fired a four-under-par 67 to hold on to his slender one stroke lead after the second round of the Macau Open.

But the story of the day belonged to Joonas Granberg of Finland, whose 62, highlighted by an eagle on the 18th hole, equalled the course record first set by. India’s Amandeep Johl in 2004.

Granberg’s second round heroics have put him just one shot behind Chan, the halfway leader who was at nine-under-par 133 in this US$750,000 Asian Tour event.

Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, also shot an eagle on the last hole for a 69 to secure third place on 135 at the Macau Golf and Country Club.

Asian Tour honorary member Jeev Milkha Singh of India, playing in his first Macau Open since 1999, posted a 68 to share fourth place with Thanyakon Khrongpha (66) of Thailand and Australian Adam Groom (69)..

Playing from the back nine, Chan, winner of the 2009 King’s Cup in Thailand, recovered from an early bogey to turn in 35 highlighted by a crucial par save on the 15th hole where he putted from 20 feet.

A superb eagle three on the second hole after the turn where his seven iron approach from 198 yards landed nine feet from the pin came ahead of Chan’s cherries on top – two late birdies against just one bogey.

“It has been a long time since I last had such good scores. I felt I played even better than yesterday. I’m happy to have a chance to be in the leading group. I like the pressure and I’m eager to play in the next two days,” said Chan, who is in the hunt for his second Asian Tour win.

Asian Tour rookie Granberg bounced back from his opening 72 with some accurate iron play – he missed only one green – and his near flawless round put him in a strong position to secure a second victory after winning the Selangor Masters in Malaysia in July.

“It was a solid round. I made many putts and missed only one green. My confidence is much higher now after I won in Malaysia but it is going to be a tough two days,” said the 24-year-old, who is only the second Finn to win on the Asian Tour.

Granberg’s victory in Malaysia came at the expense of Australian Groom, who double bogeyed the last hole at the Selangor Masters.

Groom insists, however, that he has overcome his defeat and is ready to make another title assault.

“I’ve definitely forgotten about my defeat in Malaysia. I have two more days to go and I’m hoping I’ll still be right up there on Sunday afternoon,” he said.

Title holder Thaworn struggled with an injury on his left forearm in the opening round. but bounced back with a flawless second round highlighted by four birdies to ignite his title defence.

“My left hand was numb from my wrist to my thumb. I could hardly grip my club. I don’t know what happened, I felt this way when I woke up yesterday. But it is feeling much better now,” said the veteran, a 12-time Asian Tour winner.

Two of the overnight leaders leaders Anthony Kang of the US and Englishman Nick Redfern missed the cut after both shot matching 78s.

TOP 10 LEADERBOARD

133 – Chan Yih-shin (Tpe) 66-67.
134 – Joonas Granberg (Fin) 72-62.
135 – Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 66-69.
136 – Adam Groom (Aus) 67-69, Thanyakon Khrongpha (Tha) 70-66, Jeev M Singh (Ind) 68-68.
137 – Brad Smith (Aus) 67-70, Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) 70-67, Prom Meesawat (Tha) 71-66, Niall Turner (Irl) 70-67.
138 – Jbe Kruger (Rsa) 70-68, Panuwat Muenlek (Tha) 71-67, Rick Gibson (Can) 71-67, Mo Joong-Kyung (Kor) 70-68.

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