The 32-year-old from Davao fired a one-over-par 71 over Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club’s demanding championship course to lead by two strokes from compatriot Anthony Fernando and Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung and S. Sivachandran.
Fung, Sabah’s rising young star, and Sivachandran both carded 68s while Fernando returned a 70 which included a costly double bogey on the 18th.
Wisut Artjanawat is two strokes further back. The Thai golfer, who won last month’s Palembang Musi Championship, fired a 68.
Bayron leads the US$60,000 tournament on four-under-par 136 and heads into the weekend in a familiar position in contention.
He has recorded third, fifth and sixth placed finishes on the ASEAN PGA Tour this year and is due a victory.
“We started on the back nine today which I liked because that’s the hard nine. It’s best to play that first when you have most of your energy,” said Bayron, who made three birdies and four bogeys
“As long as I keep putting myself into position to win I am happy. That’s all I can ask for. The win will come if I keep performing at this level,” added Bayron.
He has come close to winning many times most notably when he finished second in the opening three events last season. One of those events, the Kariza Indonesia Championship, he lost in a sudden-death play-off while in the Mercedes-Benz Masters Philippines he led after every round before slipping back into second on the final day.
The Filipino first appeared on the ASEAN PGA Tour in 2007 when he finished as the leading amateur in the Mercedes-Benz Masters Vietnam. He turned professional the following year and has been one of the most consistent performers on the ASEAN PGA Tour.
Fung won the Sabah Classic on the local Malaysian circuit this year and will no doubt be a threat at the weekend.
He played his second nine in two under to move onto the shoulder of the leader.
“That was a much better round today and I am right in the thick of things where I want to be. It will be a great battle at the weekend because if you look at the leaderboard there are a lot of top players in contention,” said Fung.
The Malaysian beat compatriot Danny Chia by two shots in Sabah Classic and then triumphed by nine shots in another domestic tour event in Sarawak.
The 21 year old, who grew up playing golf at Sabah Golf & Country Club, has won once before on the ASEAN PGA Tour in last year’ Mercedes-Benz Masters Vietnam.
Indonesia’s leading golfer Rory Hie carded a second successive 71 and six behind Bayron.
The Sabah Masters is the sixth event on this year’s ASEAN PGA Tour. The tournament has not been played since 1999 when American Robert Huxtable took the title when it was also played at Sutera Harbour.
Leading second round scores:
136 – Jay Bayron (PHI) 65 71
138 – Nicholas Fung (MAS) 70 68, S. Sivachandran (MAS) 70 68,
Anthony Fernando (PHI) 68 70
140 – Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 72 68
141 – Airil Rizman (MAS) 70 71, Tanatchan Puaktes (THA) 68 73
142 – Marlon Dizon (PHI) 69 73, Rory Hie (INA) 71 71
144 – Apichart Papitak (THA) 70 74
145 – Dengshan Koh (SIN) 72 73
146 – Pravee Visalkit (THA) 73 73, Somsak Khaoprathum (THA) 74 72, Carl Santos-Ocampo (PHI) 73 73, Lim Eng Seng (MAS) 72 74, Supravee Phatam (THA) 72 74, Mohd Rashid Ismail (MAS) 74 72
The prestigious Sutera Harbour Golf Course will once again stage the celebrated Sabah Masters from 3rd to 6th November 2011 after a lapse of 10 years.
The tournament has seen great names such as Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant who claimed the title in 1996 while American Robert Huxtable triumphed in 1999 at the Sutera Harbour’s challenging golf course.
With a strong field playing this week another great champion’s name can be expected to be inscribed on the trophy. Among the contenders for the title are Wisut Artjanawat from Thailand, Jay Baron from Philippines, Rory Hie from Indonesia, Nicolas Fung and Airil Rizman from Malaysia.
There are seven countries participating in the tournament namely Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore and Negara Brunei Darussalam.
Sutera Harbour Golf Course was designed by Graham Marsh. This 27-holes championship golf course has been voted by the readers of Expatriate Lifestyle Magazine as the Best Golf Course/Resort Malaysia 2009 as well as the 2nd runner up for Best Golf Resort in Asia at the Asian Golf Monthly Awards 2008.
Located within Sutera Harbour Resort, the Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club is part of the integrated Resort experience, where golf goes hand-in-hand with luxurious 5-star accommodation, pampering spa treatments, water sports and other recreational facilities and 14 dining outlets for a varied culinary experience.
The 27-hole course at Sutera Harbour Golf Club is divided into 3 distinct sets of 9’s: the Lake Course, the Heritage Course and the Garden Course. Each set display particular characteristics with regards to challenges, hazards and landscaping.
At the Resort the elegant business setting of The Pacific Sutera Hotel is complemented by the ambience of The Magellan Sutera Resort, offering a total of 956 guest rooms and suites of luxurious comfort.