2018 HSBC Champions

Words by BGB
BANGKOK, Thailand: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is still not out of the running for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions despite returning with a second round one-under-par 71 at the Sheshan International Golf Club on Friday.

The Thai, who has already enjoyed two top-five finishes in his previous two WGC events in Mexico and the United States this year, will head into the weekend rounds in tied-seventh place, six shots back of American Tony Finau.

Finau signed for a 67 to take over the lead from compatriot Patrick Reed, who slipped to a share of second place with Englishmen Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood after the trio signed for matching two-day totals of eight-under-par 136 at the US$10 million event.

While conceding he has yet to play to his true potential this week, Kiradech is pleased he is still in contention for his first WGC win and there is a marked improvement in his short game.

Finau is playing at the WGC-HSBC Champions for the second time and showed his dominance on the second day of the tournament when he raced out in 32.

Finau suffered an unfortunate bounce off a sprinkler-head on 11 which saw his ball land over the back of the green and he would eventually go on to card a double-bogey there.

The American bogeyed 13 but came storming back with three more birdies on 14, 16 and 18 to take a three-shot advantage into the weekend.

Did you know?

– Kiradech Aphibarnrat hit 7/14 fairways and 9/18 greens today.

– The Thai is playing in his fourth WGC-HSBC Champions. His previous results include T55 (2013), T30 (2015), T24 (2017).

– He is the first player from Thailand to gain full-time membership on the PGA TOUR.

– Tony Finau is playing in the fifth World Golf Championships event of his career and he has never finished worse than T27 at a WGC.

– Finau finished T11 at last year’s WGC-HSBC Champions in his only previous start at the event.

– Patrick Reed is vying for his second victory at a World Golf Championships event having won the 2014 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.

– Reed still holds the distinction of being the youngest player ever to win a World Golf Championships event with his victory at the 2014 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at age 23 years, 7 months, 4 days.

– Justin Rose is trying to become the only player other than Tiger Woods to defend a World Golf Championships title. Woods has done it on seven occasions.