Schwartzel and Wu storm ahead in Maybank Malaysian Open

2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa and China’s Wu Ashun jointly hold the clubhouse lead after the weather-interrupted second day of the Maybank Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC).

Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel

Schwartzel and Wu both carded 68s at KLGCC’s West Course to go into the weekend on nine-under-par, while first round leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand was at 10-under-par after nine holes of his second round when darkness forced play to be halted. 76 players will return to complete their second rounds at 7.45am on Saturday with the third round commencing not earlier than 1.15pm.

Schwartzel completed his first round in the morning with a 67 and got off to hot start for his second round with birdies on the opening two holes. However, the South African dropped shots on six and seven after making mental errors.

“I can’t be too hard on myself because it’s extraordinarily hot out there. I lost a bit of concentration towards the end and made bad decisions on the sixth and seventh – poor club selections. I was in the middle of the fairway both times and made bogey,” said Schwartzel, winner of the Thailand Golf Championship on the Asian Tour last December.

“There are no excuses and you just have to get on with it. I’m glad to have given myself a chance. It’s been a very long day but through it all, I thought I played pretty well. If I had been a bit sharper, I could have separated myself from the field.”

Wu, playing on a sponsor’s invitation, is on a hot streak having qualified for his maiden appearance at the British Open through the International Final Qualifying – Asia in Thailand earlier this month.

“I’ve been in a good form lately and I hope to maintain that,” said Wu, who finished tied 19th the last time he played the Maybank Malaysian Open in 2010.

“It is great that I have the opportunity to play in this co-sanctioned event. It’s going to be very competitive because we’ve got all the top players from the Asian Tour and European Tour in the field,” added the 27-year-old, who won on the Japan Tour last season.

Italy’s Edoardo Molinary was a further shot back on eight-under after playing five holes of his second round in two-under-par.

Chinese stalwart Liang Wen-chong, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007, fired a 68 to move up into contention on six-under-par.

“I have a big chance again but I need to have more patience. I feel that my form is good and I just need to get in more short putts,” said Liang.

Gavin Kyle Green

Gavin Kyle Green

Meanwhile, Gavin Kyle Green reinforced his reputation as Malaysia’s great golfing hope when he carded an impressive second round 68 in the Maybank Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

The long-hitting 19-year-old bounced back from an opening 73 to stand at three-under-par after 36 holes, comfortably making the cut which is projected to come at even par. Green became the first Malaysian amateur in 10 years to qualify for the weekend rounds, following S. Siva Chandhran in 2003.

“I played well in the second round. I got more comfortable with the golf course and didn’t do much mistakes compared to the first round. I just got to play my game again. If I can do that, I know I will be okay,” said Green, who played with 2011 winner Matteo Manassero of Italy and India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar.

Tournament drawcard Luke Donald of England was even par for the tournament after seven holes of his second round.

Leading Round 2 Scores (completed scores only)

135 – Wu Ashun (CHN) 67-68, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 67-68.

138 – Liang Wen-chong (CHN) 70-68, Scott Jamieson (SCO) 66-72, Lee Slattery (ENG) 68-70.

139 – Rafa Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 72-67, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 69-70, Prom Meesawat (THA) 68-71, Alastair Forsyth (SCO) 69-70, Joonas Granberg (FIN) 71-68.

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