Sports

Jimenez leads Thailand Classic by 1

Hua Hin, Thailand (SportsNetwork.com) - Miguel Angel Jimenez fired a 6-under 66 on Friday to move one stroke clear of the field after two rounds of the inaugural Thailand Classic.

Jimenez, who won on the Champions Tour three weeks ago, stands at 11-under-par 133 after 36 holes. His last European Tour win was at the 2014 Open de Espana.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot a 67 for the second straight round and is alone in second place at minus-10. Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee carded a 66 to move to 9-under-par 135. He was joined in third place by Richard T. Lee (67) and Scott Hend (68).

First-round leader Michael Hoey managed an even-par 72 at Black Mountain Golf Club and slid into a tie for sixth at 8-under-par 136. Hoey stands alongside Matthew Baldwin, Tom Lewis and Johan Carlsson, who all carded 67s in round two.

Jimenez, who is battling the flu, played the back nine first on Friday and opened with a birdie at the 10th. He converted a birdie effort on the 12th to move to minus-7.

After a pair of pars, Jimenez carded the third birdie of his day on No. 15. He ran off four consecutive pars from the 16th.

Jimenez dropped in back-to-back birdies at two and three. He birdied the sixth and seventh, both for the second day in a row, to jump to 12-under. However, Jimenez stumbled to a bogey at the ninth, his last, to slip back to minus-11.

"I'm very happy. I am disappointed to make bogey on the last, but overall I played very solid and made a lot of birdies. I was hitting shots right at the flags today. You need to be in the right places on the greens to put the ball on the right side of the hole, because the putts are very fast," Jimenez said. "I have the flu and I'm very banged up and slept terribly last night, but apart from that I'm fine."

Aphibarnrat also birdied the 10th to start his round. He traded a bogey at the 12th for a birdie at the 13th. He birdied the 15th to move to 7-under.

The 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open champion stumbled to another bogey at the 18th. Around the turn, Aphibarnrat made eagle at the par-5 second for the second straight day.

Matching his opening round, Aphibarnrat stumbled to a bogey at the fifth, then birdied the sixth, seventh and ninth to move within one of Jimenez.

"I've been striking the ball good so far," Aphibarnrat stated. "I'm happy with the way I'm playing right now. I have a lot of confidence."

NOTES: Jimenez has posted 28 rounds of 69 or lower on the European Tour since turning 50-years-old last January ... Panuphol Pittayarat had a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th, which earned him a new house ... Hennie Otto withdrew during the second round due to a back injury ... The cut line fell at 2-under-par 142 with 79 players moving on to the weekend ... Among those that missed the cut were Alejandro Canizares, Fabrizio Zanotti, Wen-chong Liang, Jeev Milkha Singh and Robert Rock.