Charl Schwartzel holds a four-shot lead at the halfway point of the Thailand Golf Championship
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK. Last Updated: 07/12/12 1:30pm
Charl Schwartzel: Four shots clear after second successive 65
Charl Schwartzel fired a second successive 65 to open a four-shot lead at the halfway point of the Thailand Golf Championship.
The South African - who stands at 14-under after 36 holes - maintained his imperious form at the Amata Spring Country Club just outside Bangkok to put himself in pole position to go one better than last year when he finished as runner-up at the event.
Schwartzel's closest rival is Daniel Chopra of Sweden who followed his 67 on Thursday with the same score on Friday to claim sole possession of second on 10-under.
The Swede is one clear of Japan's Masanori Kobayashi (67) and home hope Thitiphun Chuayprakong, although the Thai youngster, who managed 15 holes on Friday, will be one of 25 players to return on Saturday morning to complete their second rounds after heavy rain caused a 90-minute delay.
Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa forced his way into contention with a sparkling 66 which left him at eight-under, two clear of Sergio Garcia (69) and Bubba Watson (70), who failed to make the inroads they would have hoped for, and Australia's Scott Hend (68).
Work to do
Amongst the pre-tournament favourites, Garcia and Watson now have it all to do to catch Schwartzel who is still to drop a shot at the event after another flawless round which contained seven birdies.
Second round leaderboard
(Tha unless stated)
-14 C Schwartzel (SA)
-10 D Chopra (Swe)
-9 T Chuayprakong (* 33 holes)
-9 M Kobayashi (Jpn)
-8 R Ishikawa (Jpn)
Just as he did in his first round, Schwartzel kicked off with a birdie at the first and picked up further shots at the sixth and seventh. Four more birdies ensued on the back nine, including three in a row between the 14th and 16th, as he opened a commanding lead over the field.
Defending champion Lee Westwood finds himself nine shots off the pace as he added a 69 to his first round score of 70.
The Englishman was again left to bemoan his form on the greens as he missed several opportunities to close on the leaders, stating: "I've made nothing the first two days and left too many out there. Missed too many short ones which is the main difference really (from last year)."
Westwood's Ryder Cup partner Nicolas Colsaerts (67) is alongside him at five-under, while American Hunter Mahan is a shot further back after a 69.