Date: April 28, 2007

Strange in contention

Thailand&aposs Panuwat Muenlek and Chapchai Nirat lead the field at the halfway mark of the Beijing Open at Pine Valley but Australian Scott Strange is hot on their heels just one shot behind. Strange shot a 68 to move to seven-under-par and is equal third alongside first-round leader Gaurav Ghei from India. A host of other Australasians are also well in contention as is American veteran John Daly. But the day belonged to the Thai pair, with rookie Panuwat birdying the last two holes to jump to the top of the leaderboard at eight-under, while compatriot Chapchai was forced to battle a stomach bug but dug deep to record a bogey-free 67. Chapchai scored five birdies in his round and is one step closer to winning his second Asian Tour title after claiming the TCL Classic in March. “I didn&apost expect to play so well because I had an upset stomach since Tuesday. I&aposm still affected by it and I feel weak. My condition has improved slightly and I hope to ride on my good form this season,” he said. Good friend Panuwat also had a solid round but a double-bogey on the 14th hole put an end to his hopes of being outright leader. Daly remained in contention when he shot a 71 and is tied for fifth place two strokes off the pace. Sitting alongside the big-hitting American is young Aussie Adam Blyth and New Zealander Brad Iles, as well as Gerald Rosales from The Philippines. At four-under are Australians Brad Kennedy and Kane Webber, with compatriots Uhno Park, Marcus Both, Adam Le Vesconte, David Gleeson and Neven Basic one stroke behind. New Zealand&aposs Stephen Scahill and Mark Bro are also at three under the card. Leading second round scores from the Beijing Open -8: Chapchai Nirat (Thailand) 69 67, Panuwat Muenlek (Thailand) 66 70 -7: Scott Strange (Australia) 69 68, Gaurav Ghei (India) 65 72 -6: Gerald Rosales (Philippines) 71 67, John Daly (USA) 67 71, Adam Blyth (Australia) 70 68, Brad Iles (New Zealand) 69 69 -5: Liang Wen-chong (China) 70 69, Hendrik Buhrmann (RSA) 68 71, Mardan Mamat (Singapore) 69 70, Taichiro Kiyota (Japan) 70 69 -4: Brad Kennedy (Australia) 69 71, Han Lee (USA) 75 65, Jerome Delariarte (Philippines) 71 69, Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand) 72 68, Kane Webber (Australia) 71 69 -3: Prom Meesawat (Thailand) 71 70, Anthony Kang (USA) 69 72, Unho Park (Australia) 70 71; Craig Smith (Wales) 69 72, Marcus Both (Australia) 71 70, Stephen Scahill (New Zealand) 70 71, Mark Bro (New Zealand) 71 70, Roy Moon (USA) 73 68, Adam Le Vesconte (Australia) 68 73, Rick Gibson (CAN) 71 70, David Gleeson (Australia) 71 70, Neven Basic (Australia) 69 72