Shinhan Donghae Open 2023

Quayle stages fightback to keep title hopes alive

Quayle stages fightback to keep title hopes alive

A gutsy Anthony Quayle produced a remarkable fightback by birdieing four of his last six holes to stay in the title race at the Shihan Donghae Open in South Korea.

The 29-year-old Quayle, still seeking his JGTO breakthrough win, salvaged a two-under-par 70 at the Sky72 Golf Club in Incheon to enter the weekend tied for fourth position and four shots back of amateur leader Cho Woo-young.

Quayle, who fired an opening 65, endured a frustrating start as he failed to make any gains from the 10th and bogeyed the par-three 12th and third holes instead.

To his credit, he steadied the ship and bounced back with birdies on the fourth, fifth, seventh, and ninth to haul himself back to nine-under-par 135 for the day.

The 21-year-old Cho sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a bogey-free 64, highlighted by an eagle on the par-five seventh, his third last hole of the day.

It moved him to 13-under-par 131, giving him a three-shot advantage over compatriot Bio Kim and Richard T. Lee of Canada, who both posted identical 66s.

After a modest opening 71, South Africa's Jbe Kruger responded with a 66 to put himself back in contention to reclaim the title he last captured in 2019.

Kruger, who's seeking a second win after his Sega Sammy Cup triumph, marked his scorecard with an eagle, five birdies, and a bogey to shoot up to a tie for 12th at seven-under-par 137 along with several JGTO members including Aguri Iwasaki, Ryuko Tokimatsu, Shunya Takeyasu, and Tomoharu Otsuki.

Of the Japanese quartet, European-based Iwasaki shone the brightest when he fired the day's lowest score of 63, featuring 10 birdies. A dropped shot on the 12th hole was his only blemish of the day.

Iwasaki can certainly heave a huge sigh of relief after missing the cut in his recent 11 starts, 10 of which were on the DP World Tour.

"It was a confidence booster for sure. I finally made the cut!" said Iwasaki, whose last JGTO appearance was at the ASO Iizuka Challenge Golf Tournament.

"I wasn't certain I would advance this week (following a poor start), so I approached each round with utmost seriousness.

"Securing six consecutive birdies (from the second hole) was a highlight. Even though I hit a bogey, I managed to follow it up with four more birdies, which felt great."

Asked if he could have done better, Iwasaki quipped: "Impossible!"

JGTO ace Keita Nakajima also produced a strong comeback, posting a flawless 67 to be tied for 23rd at six-under-par 138.

Leading second round scores:

131: Cho Woo-young (Kor) 67-64;

134: Bio Kim (Kor) 68-66, Richard T. Lee (Can) 68-66;

135: Koh Gun-taek (Kor) 69-66, Anthony Quayle (Aus) 65-70, Ok Tae-hoon (Kor) 66-69, Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 65-70, David Puig (Esp) 64-71;

136: Park Sang-hyun (Kor) 68-68, Kim Tae-ho (Kor) 70-66, Jeon Seong-hyeon (Kor) 68-68.