Kuala Lumpur: Overnight leader Danny Chia remained in pole position by returning with a four-under-par 67 to lead by three shots at the halfway stage of the PGM MIDF TPC Kuala Lumpur Championship on Thursday.
The 43-year-old Malaysian, who opened his campaign with a sizzling 64, fired seven birdies against a double-bogey and a bogey to lead on 11-under-par 131 total at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event
Singapore’s Mitchell Slorach signed for a 69 to take second place on 134 while a host of five players, including South African Mathiam Keyser, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Oscar Arvidsson of Sweden, settled a further shot back in third at the TPC Kuala Lumpur.
Chia, who proudly represented his country in the Olympic Games last month, endured mixed feelings after his round but took it in his stride as he remains in control for a record-tying fifth victory on the ADT.
“It was a mixed round for me. When I hit it good, it was really good but when I hit it bad, it was really bad. Some pretty tough conditions out there so I am happy to stay where I am on the leaderboard,” said Chia.
“The greens are slower after the rain. I had a lot of birdie chances out there which I didn’t fully take advantage of. The highlight was on the 11 where I holed a bunker shot from about 10 metres with a sand wedge. I am looking forward to tomorrow,” Chia added.
Slorach returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by two birdies to keep up his chase for a breakthrough victory on the ADT, which was launched as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour in 2010.
“The putter wasn’t as hot as it was yesterday but I kept the ball in play. I am still hitting it solid so I can’t complain much. I am happy to be in a good position for the weekend rounds but I don’t want to give myself any expectations,” said Slorach.
“I went to see golf coach Skye Neal in Singapore last week and we worked on a couple of things. I am glad the efforts are paying off so far this week,” added the 28-year-old Singaporean.
Keyser, who claimed his maiden ADT win in Malaysia last month, continued his fine form to put himself in contention in what is the Tour’s final stop in Malaysia this week.
“I just try to keep it in play. It is very important to do that on this course. I have been playing well the last few weeks so I am feeling very confident. It was a solid round today given the tough course conditions.
“I drove the ball well and I hit my wedges good too but I haven’t been able to hole some putts. Hopefully it will get better tomorrow,” said the 28-year-old Keyser, who traded three birdies against a lone bogey.
The halfway cut was set at four-over-par 146 with a total of 51 players advancing into the final two rounds.
The second round of the PGM MIDF TPC Kuala Lumpur Championship was earlier suspended at 1.40pm local time due to the heavy rain. Play resumed about two hours later at 3.45pm.
Leading second round scores:
131 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 64-67
134 – Mitchell SLORACH (SIN) 65-69
135 – Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) 66-69, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 66-69, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 66-69, Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) 68-67, James BOWEN (USA) 65-70
136 – Gavin GREEN (MAS) 68-68, Shakhawat SOHEL (BAN) 69-67
137 - Ben LEONG (MAS) 66-71, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 67-70, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 67-70
About the Asian Development Tour
The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.