Korean golfer Bio Kim boosted his bid to win his first Asian Tour title, taking a halfway lead in the Laguna Phuket Championship at Laguna Golf Phuket.

The Korean added a four-under-par 66 to his first-round 62 to lead on 12 under by two shots from Thailand’s Chanachok Dejpiratanamongkol, in with a 67 according to the Asian Tour website.

Not far behind is Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand. He is a stroke further back after firing 65, one better than his compatriots Panuphol Pittayarat and Natipong Srithong, who both shot 64.

Kim had a commanding three-shot lead with two to play but encountered trouble on the par-four 17th, where he made double. His tee shot went right into pine trees. He found woodwork twice while trying to punch out before reaching the green with his fourth. Regardless the 31-year-old managed to bounce back brilliantly on the par-four 18th, hitting a nine iron from 160 yards to 12 feet, converting for a birdie.

“It was one of those day when I could have done much better but luckily today is over and I will regroup tomorrow,” Kim said. “And hopefully I do a little better than today. I will just keep my head down, be focused and be present; that’s who I am and that’s how I am playing the game of golf. And hopefully good things happen on the weekend.”

Kim was expected to be the next big superstar of Korean golf over a decade ago after winning both the Korean and Japan Amateur Championships in 2008. He finished at the top of the Korean PGA Tour Order of Merit two years later and then secured his PGA Tour card at the age of 20.

That victory and a joint fourth placing in last week’s Blue Canyon Phuket Championship suggests the Korean is building towards a second coming.

“Maybe the big difference is my second child who was born last October. I have two daughters now, hopefully I can give them good things on the weekend,” he said.

Bio Kim of Korea
Bio Kim of Korea Photo credit: Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour

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