Darren Clarke is nine strokes behind Welshman Jamie Donaldson at the halfway stage of the Thailand Golf Championship.
The European Ryder Cup captain shot a one under 71 at Amata Spring Golf Club to get to four under par as Muskerry’s Niall Turner missed the level par cut by two shots after a 72.
Donaldson posted a four-under par 68 for a 13-under par aggregated of 131 and a two-shot advantage over Martin Kaymer of Germany, who shot a 65.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia also lived up to his billing as one of the pre-tournament favourites by signing for a 69 to stay within sights of Donaldson, trailing him by four shots together with Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick on 135 total in tied-third place at the US$1 million Asian Tour event.
Donaldson had to battle temperatures of 35C and the 40-year-old was happy to make seven birdies against three bogeys.
“It can be tough out there and it’s important to get off to a good start,” he said. “You need to keep the momentum going and I managed to do that today.
It was very hot and a case of trying to stay hydrated and not sweat too much on the ball.
“I’ve played well for the first two days. I dropped a couple of shots but I just got to keep doing what I’ve been doing. Overall, I’ve been playing nicely.”
Thailand Golf Championship Amata Spring GcC course (Par 72)
131 – Jamie DONALDSON (WAL) 63-68.
133 – Martin KAYMER (GER) 68-65.
135 – Matthew FITZPATRICK (ENG) 68-67, Sergio GARCIA (ESP) 66-69, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 66-69.
136 – Byeonghun AN (KOR) 69-67, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 70-66.
137 – Clement SORDET (FRA) 71-66.
138 – Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 70-68, Sunghoon KANG (KOR) 70-68.
139 – Joost LUITEN (NED) 69-70, Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 71-68, Brett MUNSON (USA) 67-72, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 68-71, Matthew GILES (AUS) 69-70, Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 67-72, Jacques BLAAUW (RSA) 70-69, Chanat SAKULPOLPHAISAN (THA) 66-73.
140 – JIN Cheng (am, CHN) 73-67, Nicolas COLSAERTS (BEL) 70-70, Darren CLARKE (NIR) 69-71, David LIPSKY (USA) 73-67, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 73-67, Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 73-67, Zander LOMBARD (RSA) 71-69, Jason KNUTZON (USA) 72-68, Berry HENSON (USA) 70-70.
141 – Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 69-72, S.S.P CHAWRASIA (IND) 72-69, Bubba WATSON (USA) 71-70
146 – Niall TURNER (IRL) 74-72