Khongwatmai shares the lead at 11-under 133
Khongwatmai and Nino Bertasio climbed 12 spots up from their opening round with matching seven-under-par 65 for the day taking their total to 11-under 133 for a shot lead over the four-man group of Lee Westwood, Yuta Ikeda, Marc Warren, and Chris Paisley, the opening round leader.
Phachara Khongwatmai fired a bogey-free seven-under 65 for the day consisting of a magnificent show of five back to back birdies on 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th hole.
Very smooth from young Thai prodigy Phachara Khongwatmai 🇹🇭 who closes in on the leaders #MaybankChampionship
Posted by Asian Tour on Friday, February 2, 2018
Italian Nino Bertasio finished T-12th with Phachara in the opening round and joined him at the top of the board with eight birdies, and a bogey in his round. He started his round with a birdie on the 10th hole and aided four more including two consecutively on 17th and 18th holes before the turn, with a bogey on the 14th, Nino march ahead with three more birdies on the 1st, 5th and 6th hole to complete his front nine for 33, taking his total to 11-under 13 for the tied top spot on the board.
Earlier in the day Lee Westwood came back from the T-93rd finish of the opening round with a 72 to an unbelievable 10-under 62 for the day with 11 birdies and a bogey in his round and shared the lead with Yuta Ikeda and Marc Warren before Phachara and Nino went past them.
Lee finished his front and back nines with three consecutive birdies on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 16th, 17th, and 18th holes. Westwood has been a champion for nine times on the Asian Tour, including a win at the Malaysian Open in 1997, and is surely in contention for another win here.
“Until the eighth hole, my 17th, I hadn’t holed anything over five feet. Tee to green it was brilliant, one bogey and 11 birdies, and now in contention,” said Westwood.
“It was enjoyable, there were a lot of birdies going in out there. It’s nice to be in contention and to know this golf course well. I won the Malaysian Open here 21 years ago now, and I’ve won this tournament and was touring pro for this course, so I’ve probably played it more than most and I know where to hit it,” he added.
Yuta Ikeda is looking for his first win outside of Japan and fired a flawless eight-under 64 round today helping him overcome 51 spots for a T-2nd finish to his second round.
Indians at the Event
Khalin Joshi had a tremendous opening round with a T-4th finish and saw a dip in rankings today with 2-under 70 for the day, taking his total to 7-under 137 for a T-25th stay on the board.
Shiv Kapur was looking at a T-51st finish in his opening round with 70 on the board, Kapur bettered himself by half of the rank with an astounding 5-under 67, for a T-25th finish with Joshi. Kapur posted seven birdies and two bogeys in his round, three of his birdies came back to back from the 16th to the 18th holes.
Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa are tied for the 37th spot on the board at 6-under 138, where both of them were sharing fourth position on the board with Andrew Johnston in the opening round.
Bhullar shared the 12th spot yesterday and posted 1-under 71 for the day taking his total to five-under 139 for a share of the 51st position on the board with Shubhankar Sharma, who is enjoying a great time on the European and the Asian Tour after winning his maiden event at the Joburg Open and following it with a win at McLeod Russel Championship on the PGTI Tour.
SSP Chawrasia stood at T-30th on Thursday but dropped to T-63rd with Prom Meesawat, Jason Norris, Marcel Siem, Austin Connelly, Ryo Ishikawa, Adrian Otaegui, Rattanon Wannasrichan, Darren Clarke, Joost Luiten, Jeunghun Wang, Carlos Pigem and Romain Wattel at 4-under 140, the group just qualifying for the weekend rounds.