Johor Bahru: Malaysian ace Danny Chia fired an eight-under-par 64 to open up a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the PGM Palm Resort Championship which has been reduced to 54 holes.
The 43-year-old Chia returned on Friday morning to finish round two where he fired a flawless round highlighted by eight birdies to lead on 14-under-par 130 at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.
Oscar Zetterwall of Sweden, who won his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) event last week, trail in second place following a 65 while Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn and Sutijet Kooratanapisan were a further shot back on 133.
Thai teenager Suradit Yongcharoenchai trails the leader by four shots as he aims to become the second youngest ADT winner at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) event.
Officials were forced to shorten the PGM Palm Resort Championship due to several weather delays during the week. The third and final round will now start on Saturday at 7.30am.
Chia, a three-time ADT winner, was delighted to be in the lead after missing the halfway cut in Japan on the Asian Tour last week.
He posted four birdies on each nine and will enter the third and final round with a slight edge over Zetterwall, who claimed an emphatic first win in the Philippines last week.
“I played nicely when I returned this morning. This is a golf course with many scoring opportunities and I took advantage of that. It is always nice to shoot a bogey free round. I’m playing consistently at the moment so that’s a positive sign,” said Chia.
“I’m in the lead now so it doesn’t affect me if the round is reduced to 18 holes. The goal remains the same which is to play consistently and hope the putts drop,” added the Malaysian.
The ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as the gateway to the premier Asian Tour, will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2017.
Like all other ADT events, the PGM Palm Resort Championship will offer OWGR points, which will be key for players vying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August.
Leading round 2 scores:
130 - Danny CHIA (MAS) 66 64
132 - Oscar ZETTERWALL (SWE) 67 65
133 - Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 65 68, Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 65 68
134 - Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 70 64
135 - Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 68 67, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 68 67
136 - Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 68 68, KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 67 69
137 - Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 69 68, Mohd Iylia JAMIL (MAS) 67 70, Chanwoo KIM (KOR) 69 68, Ye Htet AUNG (MYN) 68 69
138 - Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 69 69, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 68 70, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 69 69
139 - Gavin GREEN (MAS) 73 66, KHOR Kheng Hwai (MAS) 72 67, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 69 70, Nicolas PAEZ (USA) 69 70