Thursday, 9 January 2014 | MYT 9:37 PM
Tinkering Tran holds on to lead in Sabah Masters
Michael Tran of Vietnam hits a shot during the second round of the Sabah Masters golf tournament at the Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club in Kota Kinabalu on Jan 9, 2014. — AFP
PETALING JAYA: Vietnam golfer Michael Tran tinkered with his game routine and struggled to a two-over 73 in the second round of the season-ending US$75,000 (RM245,625) Sabah Masters at the Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club in Kota Kinabalu.
Luckily for him it didn’t matter. The 24-year-old managed to keep the lead as his two-round total of four-under 138 gave him a two-shot advantage over joint second-placed Sattaya Supupramai and Pipatpong Naewsuk of Thailand and Filipino Frankie Minoza.
Singapore’s Mardan Mamat (73) and Thailand’s Piya Swangarunporn (69) are a shot further back.
Tran, who shot a flawless six-under 65 in the first round, admitted that his tinkering nearly cost him on Thursday.
“It was tough to make putts today. I changed my routine for some reason on the greens and it backfired. I have always been a strong hitter of the ball and today I actually hit the ball better than in the first round ... but I was poor on the greens. It could have been worse today but I was patient, and that’s something I’ll need to get over in the next two days.
“It’s nice to start my first tournament so well. I’m hoping for a great year. Last year, I moved back home ... so it meant I missed a bunch of events, but this season I have a place in Bangkok which will be more convenient getting to events,” said Tran.
Former Asian Tour No. 1 and the oldest player in the field Minoza, who spent much of his career playing in Japan, is happy to be in contention.
“The wind was up today, so it made things more difficult for everyone. I am well placed and feeling comfortable and looking forward to the next two days,” said the 54-year-old Minoza.