February 13, 2015 / 12:32 PM / 4 years ago

Jimenez overcomes flu to take one-stroke lead in Thailand

(Reuters) - Miguel Angel Jimenez showed little signs of discomfort from a bout of flu on Friday as he took a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the Thailand Classic with a six-under-par 66 in the second round.

Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain hits out of a bunker on the second hole during the second round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai in this file photo taken on November 7, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

The 51-year-old Spaniard took his two-day total to 11-under in the $2 million tournament, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, ahead of local hope Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67) on 10-under.

Canadian Richard Lee (67), Scott Hend (68) of Australia and Thai veteran Thongchai Jaidee (66) were a further shot back, tied for the third spot.

Jimenez, the oldest winner on the European Tour, holed seven birdies at the Black Mountain Golf Club on Friday with a lone bogey on the ninth, his final hole.

“I’m very happy,” Jimenez said. “I am disappointed to make bogey on the last but overall I played very solid and made a lot of birdies. I was hitting shots right at the flags today.

“You need to be in the right places on the greens to put the ball on the right side of the hole, because the putts are very fast — I like it.

“I have the flu and I’m very bunged up and slept terribly last night, but apart from that I’m fine.”

After starting on the 10th hole, 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Kiradech surged up the leaderboard with an eagle on the par-five second hole for the second day running.

The big-hitting Thai, who also had six birdies along with three bogeys during the second round, felt it will be a challenge to keep up with Jimenez.

“We’ve been playing a lot in Europe last year and he’s a really nice guy,” Kiradech said of his playing partner during the first two rounds.

“But it’s not easy to beat an old guy like him! He hits the ball very far and is striking it very well. He’s a world-class player in my eyes.”

Overnight leader Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland carded an even-par round of 72 to slide down the leaderboard to tied sixth, three strokes behind the leader.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai,; editing by Pritha Sarkar

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