After getting the “monkey off his back” with a victory in India, Australia’s Wade Ormsby is in contention for a second win in succession at the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea.
Ormsby claimed his maiden title in 13 years as a professional at the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open in Delhi earlier this month, a week before his good friend Adam Scott triumphed in the Masters.
And on returning to action at the Blackstone Golf Club, the 33-year-old claimed a share of the clubhouse lead on seven under par before fading light brought the second round to a close.
“My game’s in pretty good shape, I had the last two weeks at home practising so it was nice to come out here and keep the form going,” Ormsby told asiantour.com after a 67 completed either side of an 80-minute suspension due to the threat of lightning.
“I three-putted (the second) just before the suspension in the rain and on the third and fourth I struggled for the speed of the greens straight out of the blocks; I was a bit tentative and left a couple short but then made two bombs in the last three (for birdies on the seventh and ninth).”
Ormsby’s previous best result on the European Tour – this event is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour – was a tie for second in the New Zealand Open in 2006.
And he credited fellow Australian Scott Hend, winner of the previous week’s event in Chiangmai, for helping him secure his breakthrough win in India.
“I spoke to Scott on Sunday night last week,” Ormsby said after his one-stroke success.
“I said ‘Mate, I’m so disappointed with the way I finished in Chiangmai’ and he just said to stay patient and to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I wrote that down in my yardage book and I’m happy that got me over the line.
“I’ve played in over 200 tournaments worldwide and to get my first win takes the monkey off my back.”
Ormsby shared the lead with Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij, who added a 69 to his opening 68, with Sweden’s Alex Noren, England’s James Morrison and South African Jbe Kruger a shot behind on six under.
“The conditions were not easy and the pins were kind of tough, especially with the wind blowing, so I’ll take what I can get,” Vongvanij said.
“I’m just happy with the way I played and wherever the score stands, I’ll still stick to my game plan tomorrow and go from there. I try not to have one (a target), because if you just focus on your game, then it will always work out.”
Noren finished his 67 in style with four birdies in his last six holes after earlier having a surprise encounter with some local wildlife.
The 30-year-old was playing his approach to the second hole when a deer sprang out of the undergrowth just a few yards away.
He had thankfully finished his swing before noticing the animal as it scampered away, but still jumped slightly in shock before giving a quizzical look towards a nearby television camera.
Morrison credited new caddie Andy Forsyth for his improved form, telling European Tour Radio: “He is very experienced and strong and is someone I need because my brain does wander and is my weakness. He has kept me in check so far and I am really enjoying it.”
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher was five under after 12 holes of his second round – which will resume at 7:30am on Saturday – while world number seven Louis Oosthuizen is three shots off the lead after adding a 71 to his opening 69.