Danny Chia maintained his lead in the RM150,000 SapuraKencana National Qualifier despite shooting a second round four-over-par 76 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) today.
The 41-year-old carded one birdie, three bogeys and one double bogey for a two-under-par 142 total to stay on track for a third appearance in the US$7 million CIMB Classic this October 30 to November 2.
Khor Kheng Hwai produced a solid 69 courtesy of an eagle on the third hole at KLGCC’s West Course to trail Chia by one shot.
Chia, who shot an opening 66, struggled with a cold putter and was punished on the 10th hole when he declared ‘lost ball’ after hitting a wayward tee shot. After a bogey on 16, he found himself in more trouble when he hit his drive into the trees before settling for another bogey.
“On the 10th hole, I would usually hit my five wood but I wasn’t converting my putts on the front nine so I lost patience and pulled out my driver. I hit my ball a bit right and unfortunately I lost my ball,” lamented Chia.
He remains confident that he can pull off a victory in the SapuraKencana National Qualifier, which he won in 2012.
“My putter let me down and I lost patience on two holes. Apart from that, it is still okay. I’m not too far away. I still gave myself a fighting chance for the last day,” said Chia, who enjoyed a tied 13th result in the 2011 CIMB Classic.
Khor rued the missed opportunity to tie Chia for the lead after making bogey on the last but he kept up his chase for an appearance in the CIMB Classic after holing a 20-foot eagle putt on hole three.
“I was cruising along and I’ll take an under-par score any day. To shoot a 69 is a big achievement on this course. I’ll just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing on the last day and I’ll see where the results lead me,” said Khor.
30-year-old Rizal Amin meanwhile moved up to third after posting a second consecutive 72. He was disappointed not to finish in red numbers after three putting the last hole for bogey.
“It feels good to be two shots back. This is not an easy golf course. You have to be patient and strategize or the course will bite you. One little mistake and you can shoot a big number. Par is golden here!” said Rizal, who is aiming for a first career victory.
“I finished four shots from the champion last year and I’m definitely looking for revenge. I haven’t won yet and I think it is because of my putting. The win will come soon, I just need to be patient,” he added.
The CIMB Classic will be the fourth event of the 2014/15 FedExCup Season on the PGA Tour and will feature 78 players – 60 coming from the PGA Tour, 10 from Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions.
Out of the eight sponsor’s exemptions, CIMB Classic accords two spots for Malaysians. The second spot will be accorded to the highest ranked Malaysian golfer on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as at October 20. If the winner of the SapuraKencana National Qualifier is also the leading Malaysian in the OGWR, the second spot for the CIMB Classic will automatically go to the next best-ranked Malaysian on the OGWR.
Leading second round scores:
142 – Danny Chia 66, 76
143 – Khor Kheng Hwai 74, 69
144 – Mohd Rizal Amin 72, 72
145 – Abel Tam 73, 72; Mohd Azman 72, 73
146 – Zurie Harun 73, 73; Airil Rizman 71, 75