Chia in charge at TPC KL

July 26: Danny Chia birdied four of his last five holes for a two-under-par 70 to snatch a one-shot halfway lead at the CIMB National Championship at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

The 44-year-old Chia, who is a two-time Asian Tour winner, overcame an outward 38 with his strong finish to put himself in prime position to win the RM200,000 event which rewards the winner with a spot in the prestigious CIMB Classic, the only PGA Tour event staged in Southeast Asia, in October.

Mohd Sukree Othman carded the day’s best of 69 to trail in second place while Wilson Choo and rookie professional Amir Nazrin Jailani are a further shot back following identical rounds of 71s. The three players are chasing a first appearance in the US$7 million CIMB Classic at TPC KL from October 12 to 15.

Ben Leong, who held an overnight three-shot lead, had a day to forget as he struggled to a 76 which included one double bogey and two bogeys. He will enter the last two rounds three shots behind Chia while a battling 70 saw defending champion Gavin Green move into a share of sixth place, four behind the new leader.

Chia, who has appeared in the CIMB Classic on five occasions, holds the halfway lead with his two-day total of six-under-par 138. He is aiming to win the qualifying event for a third time following his success in 2012 and 2014.

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