Crane tops Asia Pacific Classic board with Junhasavasdikul at halfway

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Ben Crane put together seven birdies and no bogeys in shooting the best round of the event so far.
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Published: Friday, October 29, 2010 | 5:19 a.m.

Ben Crane of the United States shot a 7-under 64 Friday to take a share of the lead after the second round of the inaugural CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Southeast Asia. Crane, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, put together seven birdies and no bogeys in shooting the best round of the event so far.

The 40-man tournament at The Mines Resort and Golf Club also is sanctioned by the Asian Tour, and the field includes a mixture of players form both the PGA Tour and the Asian circuit. The winner will receive $1 million from the $6 million purse at the conclusion of the 72-hole, stroke-play event, though the money doesn’t count as official on the PGA Tour money list.

2010 CIMB ASIA PACIFIC CLASSIC

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Crane is tied with Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand, who is ranked No. 237 in the world. Junhasavasdikul, a business management graduate of Purdue and licensed pilot, had five birdies over the last seven holes Friday for a 6-under 65.

“My putting is cooperating very much and my ball striking has been good,” said the 26-year-old Junhasavasdikul. “We’ve been working on finding consistency in the game and that’s been a reason for my form this year.”

Crane, visiting Malaysia for the first time, took advantage of solid iron play to give himself a chance of winning his second title of the year.

“It was a fun day. I haven’t really been overseas other than the British Open and we are having a great time and enjoying what Malaysia has to offer,” the 34-year-old said. “I got off to a fast start. I hit a nice wedge shot to about three feet for birdie on the first hole, and that always feels good and frees you up a little bit.”

First-round leader Ricky Barnes is tied for third with fellow American Ryan Moore at 10-under 132 as PGA Tour regulars are dominating their Asian Tour counterparts at the halfway point.

Carl Pettersson is alone in fifth after a 68 put him at minus-9, while world No. 8 Luke Donald (67) and D.J. Trahan (67) are tied for sixth at 8 under. Kevin Streelman (66), Tom Gillis (66), Rickie Fowler (67), Ernie Els (68), Martin Laird (69), Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (69), Charlie Wi (70) and Brian Davis (70) are all at 7 under.