Rising stars lead in Malaysia

Rising stars Noh Seung-yul of Korea and Thailand¿s Kiradech Aphibarnrat shared the limelight in Malaysia today.

Asia’s rising stars Noh Seung-yul of Korea and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat shared the limelight after taking the joint second round lead at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.

The 18-year-old Noh and Kiradech, 20, shot a three-under-par 68 and 70 respectively to head the pack with their two-day totals of seven-under-par 135 at the Seri Selangor Golf Club.

The supremely talented duo lead by one stroke from South Africa’s James Kamte and Malaysian Shaaban Hussin, Kamte staying in the hunt with a battling 70 and Shaaban flying the local flag with a 69.

Australian Mitchell Brown, Chinese Taipei veteran Lu Chien-soon and another Malaysian, S. Siva Chandhran lie in tied fifth position on 137, going into the final two rounds.

Noh, winner of the Midea China Classic and Rookie of the Year last season, showed why he is one of Korea’s most exciting prospects as he put himself in position for a second Asian Tour title, thanks to an eagle and five birdies.

“Overall, I am happy with my game but it is still too early to be excited because it is only the second day. I’m looking forward to do better in the final two days,” said Noh, who altready has three-top-10s this season.

“I’ve enjoyed two consistent rounds because my irons are working well. I dropped two shots with a three putt on the 14th green and my tee shot at the 17th hole ended up under the trees but that’s okay.”

The burly Kiradech, a former world junior amateur champion, could have taken the sole lead but double bogeyed the 18th hole after sending an errant drive into the water hazard there. The Asian Tour rookie is still confident, though, of producing his career breakthrough.

“I was aiming for the right side of the fairway on the 18th hole but it went too far right,” he lamented.

“I’m just going to keep going for the next two days. Today my irons weren’t solid on the back nine but I was lucky to save several shots,” he added.

The powerful Kamte, winner for the Asian Tour International in Bangkok earlier this season, rued a cold putter as he battled the tricky greens at the par-71 course.

“After my first tee shot which I hit to about a foot on the first hole, I went on to three-putt from eight feet on the next hole. My putting was horrible. I kept hitting good shots but my putting let me down,” said Kamte.

“It was frustrating with the par fives where I made pars, so that’s a few shots that I threw away but looking on the positive side, I am still in the hunt and only one shot behind,” he added.

The 29-year-old Shaaban, playing on his home course, continued to ride on his impressive form when he holed a 20-foot putt for an eagle on the sixth hole.

The halfway cut was set at three-over-par 145 with 71 players making the last two rounds. Overnight leader Danny Chia of Malaysia, still suffering from flu, slipped back to be tied for 30th place after a 77 while title holder Ben Leong is in joint 55th place on 144.

(Par 71)

135 – Noh Seung-yul (KOR) 67-68, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 65-70

136 – James Kamte (RSA) 66-70, Shaaban Hussin (MAS) 67-69

137 – Lu Chien-soon (TPE) 71-66, S. Siva Chandhran (MAS) 69-68, Mitchell Brown (AUS) 68-69

138 – Gaurav Ghei (IND) 71-67, Iain Steel (MAS) 66-72, Bae Sang-moon (KOR) 69-69, Guido Van Der Valk (NED) 73-65, Kim Dae-hyun (KOR) 73-65, Marcus Both (AUS) 70-68

139 – Muhammad Munir (PAK) 73-66, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 69-70, Rick Kulacz (AUS) 68-71, Son Joon-eob (KOR) 73-66