Fast finishing Mamat keeps pace in Manila

Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:06am EST
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MANILA (Reuters) - Singaporean Mardan Mamat birdied five of his closing six holes to remain in a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Asian Tour's $1 million Manila Masters on Friday.

The 47-year-old, seeking a strong week to boost his chances of retaining his playing privileges on Tour next season, followed up his opening round seven-under-par 65 with a 68 to sit level with South Korean Wang Jeung-hun (65) at 11-under 133.

Last year's Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat was two shots back in third after the Thai hit a 69, with England's Steve Lewton (66) and Malaysian Danny Chia (71) in a share for fourth at seven-under.

Mamat, a three times winner on the Asian Tour, began his second round with 10 straight pars after starting on the 10th at the Jack Nicklaus designed Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.

He made a bogey at the par four second before picking up his first shot of the day at the fourth and then finishing in style with four straight birdies.

"I couldn’t get my momentum right on my front nine. I told myself to stay patient and I managed to finish well. I knew I had to keep to my pace to stay in contention and I managed to do it,” said Mamat, who is 74th position on the Order of Merit and needs to finish in the top 60 to save his Tour card.

"I hit good iron shots and my putting got better on the back nine. My longest putt was on the seventh hole from about 20 feet.

"The birdie on sixth actually got my momentum going. I hit a four iron to about two feet and I regained my confidence from there," he said.

Japan's Daisuke Kataoka, who shared the overnight lead with the Singaporean, fell down the field to tied for sixth at six-under after a one-over second round of 73.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Peter Rutherford)