Sung sneaks into the lead with 66; Bayron hangs tough

Sung sneaks into the lead with 66; Bayron hangs tough

TAICHUNG, Taiwan – Local ace Sung Mao-Chang went on a birdie-binge at the back and stormed ahead by two over erstwhile co-leader Tseng Tsu-Hao with a six-under 66 even as Jay Bayron kept his hopes for a spot in the weekend play 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, razed the backside of the flat but challenging layout, stringing five birdies in a six-hole stretch from No. 12 then making up for a three-putt miscue 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 considerably 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 was 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.