Thai Thongchai makes cut at Masters

PTI| Updated: Apr 12, 2014, 19:29 PM IST

Augusta, USA: Asian Tour superstar Thongchai Jaidee crossed the first hurdle and achieved the initial goal he had set for himself by making the at the Masters this year.

On Friday, the second day of the 78th edition, that monkey was finally off his back as he kept his calm on the stretch back to make the cut as he added a 74 to his first 73 and at three-over 147 he was tied 37th.

It also enabled Thongchai to complete his ?career grand slam? of made cuts in all the Major championships.

KJ Choi (70-75), who has three top-10 finishes at Masters in the past, went up to second with a birdie-birdie start, before falling down to tied 21st by the end of the day.

The 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson (69-68) tweaked the clock a bit and rode the stunning streak of five birdies to move into sole lead at seven-under 137 despite a closing bogey. Watson was followed by Australian John Senden (72-68), while four players, including defending champion, Adam Scott (69-72), Thomas Bjorn (73-68), Swede Jonas Blixt (70-71) and America young gun, Jordan Spieth (71-70) were tied third.

Veteran Fred Couples, who won the 1992 Masters continued his love affair with the Masters with round of 71-71 as he tied for seventh with young hot-shot and winner of three PGA Tour titles this season, Jimmy Walker (70-72) and the 2003 US Open winner, Jim Furyk (74-68).

Thongchai?s performance was a whole lot better than three-time champion Phil Mickelson, who missed the cut, or Rory McIlroy, who had to make a tense final putt to ensure weekend action, which he begins by going out first among the 51 left on Saturday.

Thongchai, who recently captained Team Asia to a tie with Europe in Malaysia last month, while taking on a star-studded Team Europe, also becomes the first Thai to make the cut. Three other Thais Sukree Onsham, Thaworn Wiratchant and Prayad Marksaeng, have failed in the past.

Thongchai was happy with his performance. My overall game was good but my putting has been a bit below my usual standard but the greens here are never easy, he said.

"The long birdie putt on 10 was a good but he dropped a bogey immediately, although he gave the shot straight back on 11.

He added, I holed a long birdie putt on the 10th hole, it was like a 30 footer. I was very short of the green but I felt great after I holed that. Making the cut has been my small goal here and now that I have done it, I will try to keep my form stable. There is no more pressure.

Choi slipped back from his overnight tied fifth place to equal 21st after battling to a 75, despite starting his second round with two early birdies. He dropped four bogeys, one double bogey and posted a birdie on 13 for a 145 total. Honorary member of the Asian Tour Vijay Singh, a former Masters winner, is tied 26th on 146 after shooting a 71 on Friday.

As the halfway cut came at 148 with Asian Tour honorary members Ernie Els (149) and Y.E. Yang
(154) missed it, as did Korea's Bae Sang-moon, a multiple winner on the Asian Tour, by one shot following a bogey on 18.