Four-time European tour winner Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain bounced back from a double bogey on an island hole to shoot a 7-under 65 Friday and take a two-shot lead after the second round of the Thailand Classic.
Starting on the 10th hole, the 38-year-old Spaniard had back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th before teeing into the water on the floating 17th hole, which led to his first dropped shots of the tournament.
After needing two putts for the double bogey, Cabrera Bello recovered right away to earn a birdie on the 18th and went on to claim six more on the front nine. That included four straight from hole No. 5 for a 13-under total of 131.
“[The 17th] is a tough hole and it was pretty windy,” Cabrera Bello said. “I got a wind gust, I didn’t hit that bad of a shot, but it is what it is. I just kept my head down and kept focusing on what I was doing. The birdie on 18 put me right back on track and I played an excellent front nine.”
Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay was two shots behind in second place. Zanotti, who has two tour wins, had four birdies and one eagle on the seventh hole before bogeying the 16th to end his day with a 67.
“I was able to take advantage of the par fives,” Zanotti said. “Today it was a little tricky with the wind, you need those birdies so you can play a little more relaxed on the tough holes.”
Kazuki Higa of Japan had the best round of the day with a bogey-free 64 to join a chasing pack of six players in third place, three shots behind Cabrera Bello. They include Germans Alexander Knappe and Yannik Paul, Thriston Lawrence of South Africa, and the Danish duo of Thorbjorn Olesen and Christoffer Bring.