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Friday, April 18, 2014
Westwood maintains lead at KLGCC
Lee Westwood carded a 66 on the second day of the Maybank Malaysian Open, for a two-day total of 131. – AFP Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Englishman Lee Westwood continued his control at the Maybank Malaysian Open with a dazzling six-under 66 to add to his opening 65 to open a four-stroke lead at the half-way stage at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Westwood signed for a 13-under halfway total of 131 and now has his sights on ending a two-year title drought by bagging his second Malaysian Open title. Ryder Cup team-mate Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium and Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines are lying second on nine-under 135.
There were no dark clouds hanging over the venue on Friday and it was Westwood who was on cruise control from the start as he maintained his good form following a seventh place finish at the US Masters in Augusta last week.
Westwood made a series of superb iron shots en route to eight birdies with the only blemish being a double bogey on the par-three 11th where his tee shot was short of the green, finding the water instead.
“I played well. On the front nine I shot a five-under (for the second day running) and I think the longest putt I holed was from four feet on the first. It was solid stuff. “I got a little unlucky at 11. It was one of the best shots I hit all day and the wind just gusted on me and it came up short in the water. But I rallied after that and ended up shooting a 66,” said the pleased former world number one, who feels the work done with new coach Mike Walker is paying off.
“I started with Walker six or seven weeks ago and saw an immediate improvement on the range but at first it was difficult to take it onto the golf course. “I have always played well in Asia, my strike rate is really good. It must be the heat or rice or something, I can’t put my finger on it,” he added.
Colsaerts, a two-time European Tour champion, turned in 32 but struggled to keep pace when he dropped one bogey on his way home to trail Westwood by four shots.
“I thought I actually played a lot better today. I made a fantastic start and was quickly under par, but I got a bit sloppy at one stage. “I gave myself great birdie looks from nine to 14 but didn’t make any of them. I could’ve kept it going and gone really low, but I ran out of a steam on the back nine,” said Colsaerts.
South African Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion and 2012 Malaysian Open winner, carded a four-under 68 to head into the weekend on four-under 140, Defending champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand also hung on to join the weekend field after a second consecutive 71.