New Zealand No 1 Vaughan McCall has surged into contention at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand.
The 21-year-old fired a four under par 68 in the second round at the Amata Spring Country Club to be in share of seventh place at the halfway stage.
He will begin the third round 10 shots back from China's Tianlang Guan who backed up his opening six under par 66 with an eight under 64 to get to 14 under par and establish a five shot lead over Oliver Goss and Prin Sirisommai.
The tournament winner earns an invitation to the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, while the champion and runner-up also nab spots in international final qualifying for The Open Championship.
"I have done everything this week that I planned," said McCall, the New Zealand Amateur and New Zealand Stroke Play Champion.
"I wanted to accumulate good shots and for both rounds I have been playing well until the 12th."
McCall birdied the opening three holes then added a further birdie on the 18th, his ninth, to make the turn in four under 32.
"I just let it slip today on 14, 15 and 16 but it was good to make a birdie on the last to finish on a good note."
Fellow Kiwis Daniel Pearce, who opened with a four under par 68 to be second, carded a one over par 73 in round two to slip back to tied 10th. Tasman golfer Blair Riordan is tied 12th after rounds of 73 and 69 and Peter Lee (78, 70) is tied 33rd. James Beale (76, 76) and Compton Pikari (72, 81) are off the pace.
McCall said a key to staying in touch of Guan was managing the heat in Thailand. The searing heat is a stark contrast to the conditions he left in Gore.
"Mate when I left home it was snowing - this is a bit tough for me. I had the umbrella out and I have never had the umbrella out when it is not raining."
New Zealand amateurs have come close to winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur and earning the right to play at the Masters. In 2010 Peter Spearman-Burn and in 2011 Ben Campbell finished fourth and third respectively.
The event is organised by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A, and will feature up to 120 players from the APGC's 36 member associations. Nations are offered between two to six invitations depending on their players' WAGR ranking, while Thailand can have an additional four players as the host.
- © Fairfax NZ News