Saturday March 23, 2013
Golf: Charl and Wu storm into the lead but Kiradech lurks in Malaysian Open
By S. RAMAGURU AND RAJES PAUL
SOUTH AFRICAíS Charl Schwartzel and Chinaís Wu Ashun moved into a share of the clubhouse lead on nine-under 135 before the second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open was suspended due to further thunderstorms and failing light.
Play was stopped for the second day running, first suspended at 3.20pm and then resumed at 5.45pm. But Thailandís overnight leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat kept up the chase as he posted a 10-under through nine holes in the second round until play was halted for the day.
Schwartzel, who had seven holes to complete in the morning for his first round, finished with a five-under 67.
Within the half hour, he was back on the course and started off on the back nine. He reeled off four birdies on the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th holes to keep the momentum going.
Birdies on the third and fifth holes followed but just as Schwartzel was threatening to run away from the field again, he dropped two shots in a row on the sixth and seventh and had to settle for a round of 68.
That gave him a halfway total of nine-under par and a share of the clubhouse lead with Wu, who had also returned a 68 with five birdies and just one bogey.
ďŌ was playing really well and hitting the ball well. It was hot out there in the morning and we could feel the heat. It could have been a better score but for the two bogeys on the 6th and 7th,Ē said Schwartzel.
ďŌ lost my concentration there for a moment there on the sixth but overall I felt I played well enough. It was really hot out there today,Ē he said.
ďBut there are no excuses and you just have to get on with it. Iím glad to have given myself a chance.
ďIt looks like itíll be a long time before I tee off again and Iím not sure the afternoon boys will get finished today,Ē he added.
World No.3 Luke Donald found himself waiting almost the entire day to start his second round and only managed to play seven holes in the US$2.75 million event at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Donald had completed the first round two-over 74 on Thursday and had to wait for his second round to start at 5.45pm.
Irelandís two-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, who shot a three-under 69 in his first round, faced a similar situation and played just six holes of the second round.
Chinaís Wu, playing in his second Maybank Malaysian Open after 2010 on a sponsorís invitation, was happy with the layout of the course and that he was able to complete the second round.
Another player from China, Liang Wen-chong, the first Chinese player to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007, believes he needs to stay patient if he wants to mount a title challenge in the event which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
He is three strokes behind the leaders with Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Englandís Lee Slattery.
ďI think Iíve been in a pretty good form lately but of course, that depends on the environment you are in,Ē he said
Playing in different places can affect your form. Iíll try to stay focused and play well,Ē said Liang, who was in contention at the Avantha Masters in India last week before finishing in third place.