Westwood cruises to 11-shot lead in Thailand
Friday, December 16, 2011
BANGKOK – Lee Westwood followed his career-best 12-under 60 with a 64 on Friday to take a commanding 11-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the Thailand Golf Championship.
The Englishman had eight birdies in his second straight bogey-free round at Amata Spring Country Club to reach 20 under overall.
Westwood had 10 birdies and an eagle in the first round Thursday.
“Arguably a better round this morning than yesterday in windy conditions!” Westwood tweeted. “64 to add to yesterday’s 60. For sure the best I’ve ever played. -20.”
Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa had a 66 on Friday and was tied for second at 9 under with American Michael Thompson, who also shot a 66.
John Daly followed his opening-round 65 with a 73 to slip to fourth at 6 under, 14 shots adrift of Westwood.
With two rounds remaining, Westwood is within sight of Ernie Els’ record winning margin on the Asian Tour. Els won the 2005 Asian Open by 13 shots.
“I’ll try to keep the lead irrelevant and keep on playing as I’ve been playing,” Westwood said. “I’m playing pretty well and I want to maintain that and keep making birdies and no bogeys.”
Schwartzel eagled the 15th and had six birdies, but bogeyed the 8th and 12th. He acknowledged that he only has a slim chance of catching Westwood.
“I feel like Lee is playing his own tournament and we are playing something else,” he said. “Halfway through it now, I still feel like I’ve got a very outside chance.”
British Open champion Darren Clarke, Sergio Garcia of Spain and Ryo Ishikawa of Japan all narrowly made the cut at 3 over but Thailand’s top-ranked player Thongchai Jaidee retired after 13 holes Friday because of a back injury.