Kiradech edges ahead

Fri 22 Mar 2013

Kiradech edges ahead

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Kuala Lumpur, March 22: 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 Maybank Malaysian Open on Friday.
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 for the US$2.75 million tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour after making birdies on the third, fourth and ninth holes.
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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 Molinary was a further shot back on eight-under after playing five holes of his second round in two under. A total of 75 players will return on Saturday morning to complete the round. The penultimate round will not commence before 1.15pm.
Liang Wen-chong, China’s first Asian Tour number one 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 Maybank Malaysian Open.
Wu, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation, is enjoying a purple patch. He qualified for his maiden appearance at The Open Championship 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.
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“I think it’s important to play with a strategy in mind and choosing the right clubs will matter as well. I’ve been in a good form lately and I hope to maintain that.
“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.
Schwartzel completed his first round in the morning with a 67 and then got off to hot start for his second round when he birdied the opening two holes. However, with the high humidity and heat putting a toll on the players, the slender 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.”
Liang, who finished third at the Avantha Masters, continued his impressive form and believes he needs to stay patient to contend for the Seagram Trophy, which is handed to the winner of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
“I have a big chance again but I need to have more patience. I feel that my form is good. Just need to get in more short putts. I missed some two to three footers yesterday and today. My putting stroke hasn’t been too steady,” said Liang.
“Wu is a very good player. I think he’s got a chance as well. Wu always try very hard. Last year, he has got more confidence as he won in Japan which was good for him.”
About Maybank
The Maybank Group is Malaysia’s regional financial services leader with an international network of over 2,200 offices in 20 countries namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China, Myanmar, Laos, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain and the United States of America.
The Group offers an extensive range of products and services, which includes commercial banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, stock broking, insurance and takaful and asset management. It has over 46,000 employees serving 22 million customers worldwide.
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About the Malaysian Golf Association
Founded in 1929, the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) as the sole governing body of golf in Malaysia has been entrusted to promote the game while preserving its traditions and integrity.
It’s a non-government organization that runs by volunteers who are passionate about the game with the help of a team of management staff.
The Association’s portfolios have increased over the years ranging from conducting 14 state amateur opens, national amateur open, national amateur close, Malaysian Open to processing handicaps through its National Handicap System to promoting grassroots programs and training of the athletes to represent Malaysia in the international events.
We take our responsibilities seriously in promoting the game in Malaysia while simultaneously upholding the Rules of Golf as prescribed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A).
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
About The European Tour
The European Tour is committed to celebrating the game of golf from the origins of the professional game, building a proud history of achievement, sportsmanship and integrity as well as showcasing our diverse global talent and rich landscapes. The European Tour's innovative approach enables us to embrace the world, combining championships of tradition with new tournaments in the cities and countries of the future.
The European Tour International Schedule, which from 2009 has incorporated The Race to Dubai, is a thriving global brand which, in 2012, will feature a minimum of 46 tournaments spread across all five continents of the world; the European Challenge Tour focuses on the up and coming players of the future; while the European Senior Tour provides a new start for champions celebrating their 50th birthday.
The European Tour’s corporate identity features the iconic silhouette image of six-time Open Champion Harry Vardon who gives his name to The Harry Vardon Trophy, presented to the player who is crowned European Tour Number One and winner of The Race to Dubai at the end of the season.
About Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) is a member of Sime Darby Property Bhd and a propriety Club wholly-owned and operated by KLGCC Berhad. The club has won numerous accolades from both local and foreign golfing fraternity, the latest being voted the Malaysia’s Golf Club of the Year in Par Golf Awards 2011, No.1 Golf Course in Malaysia and Best Clubhouse in Asia Pacific by Asian Golf Monthly Awards 2011 and HAPA Golf Course of the Year by the prestigious Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards Regional Series 2011 – 2013. Today, it has become a landmark as the most luxurious golf resort development in Malaysia and KLGCC has in recent years hosted numerous international championships such as the Maybank Malaysian Open and the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
About GlobalOne
GlobalOne is an executive lifestyle sports marketing consultancy. We have in the past created partnerships in golf, motor racing, sailing, tennis, rugby, skiing, athletics, basketball, cycling and skiing. Today, as an event promoter, GlobalOne’s primary focus and area of sports rights ownership is professional golf.
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