Defending champion Lee Westwood of England and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares shared the lead after an exciting second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
The 41-year-old Westwood, bidding to become only the second player to win the event three times, posted a second round 67 for a two-day total of 11-under-par 133. Canizares meanwhile charged up the leaderboard with a brilliant 65 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club’s West Course.
Austrian Bernd Wiesberger carded a 66 to lie in third position, three back of the leaders at the US$3 million championship sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Irishman Peter Lawrie, playing on a sponsor’s invitation, shot a 66 to share third place with England’s Paul Waring (68), while it was a day to forget for co-overnight leader Graeme McDowell who signed for a 73 to slip six shots off the lead.
A closing birdie from 18 feet put Westwood three clear but Canizares birdied three of his last four holes to tie for the lead.
Westwood, who won wire-to-wire last year and jointly led after the opening round, said: “I played nicely again. I hit a lot of fairways and some good iron shots and made some nice putts. It was great to birdie two of the last three.”
Canizares, a two-time European Tour winner, wielded a hot putter and needed only 25 putts in his round of seven birdies. “It was tough to keep your concentration because of the weather, but luckily some clouds came over and it wasn’t as hot as it is when the sun is on you. The course is playing nicely and the greens are rolling very well,” he said.
Round 2 Scores (Top 10 and ties):
133 – Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 66-67, Alejandro CANIZARES (ESP) 68-65.
136 – Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT) 70-66.
137 – Paul WARING (ENG) 69-68, Peter LAWRIE (IRL) 71-66.
138 – Richard BLAND (ENG) 68-70, Richard T. LEE (CAN) 69-69.
139 – Graeme MCDOWELL (NIR) 66-73.
140 – Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 68-72, Alvaro QUIROS (ESP) 70-70, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 71-69, Andy SULLIVAN (ENG) 70-70, Gregory BOURDY (FRA) 70-70, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 69-71, Robert ROCK (ENG) 70-70.