Kiradech stays ahead

Thai ace one stroke in front halfway through interrupted second round

KUALA LUMPUR: Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat birdied the ninth hole to hold a one-shot edge over second-round clubhouse leaders Wu Ashun of China and former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa at the energy-sapping Malaysian Open yesterday.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

First-round leader Kiradech completed only nine holes of his second round when play was suspended at 7:25pm due to fading light at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club following another day of weather disruptions.

The burly Thai, fourth at the Avantha Masters in India last week, stood at 10-under in the US$2.75 million tournament, sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours after making birdies on the third, fourth and ninth holes.

Before the afternoon storm rolled in, self-taught Wu produced a solid four-under-par 68 to tie Schwartzel, who also carded a 68, on nine-under-par 135 after both players laboured to 26 and 27 holes respectively.

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

A total of 76 players will return this morning to complete the second round to be followed by the third round in the afternoon.

Liang Wen-chong, China's first Asian Tour No.1 when he won the Order of Merit in 2007, fired a 68 to move up into contention as the might of Chinese golf came to the fore at the Malaysian Open.

Having won on the Japan Golf Tour last season, Wu, who is playing on a sponsor's invitation, is enjoying a purple patch.

The 27-year-old qualified for his maiden appearance at the British Open through the International Final Qualifying, Asia in Thailand earlier this month and put himself in contention to win his first Asian Tour title.

"I like this course and I'm very happy to visit my old Asian Tour friends," said Wu, who finished tied 19th during his last visit to Malaysia in 2010.

"I think it's important to play with a strategy in mind and choosing the right clubs will matter as well.

"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 both tours in the field."

SECOND ROUND SCORES

(Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat was

10-under after nine holes)

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

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

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

140 - Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 71-69, Matteo Manassero (ITA) 69-71, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 70-70, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (FRA) 70-70

141 - Gavin Green (MAS) 73-68, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 69-72, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 71-70, Ignacio Garrido (ESP) 70-71