Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Wu Ashun of China were the clubhouse leaders in the Malaysian Open after the second round was suspended because of darkness.
Schwartzel and Wu scored four-under-par 68s to lie nine under overall halfway through the event at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. But 75 players, exactly half of the remaining field, were unable to complete or even start the round, including leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, who was at ten under through nine holes.
For now, Schwartzel and Wu have a three-stroke lead on China’s Liang Wen-chong (68), England’s Lee Slattery (70), and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson (72). Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who posted a best-of-the-day 67, fought back after a nightmare start to his journey to Kuala Lumpur. His passport was stolen, so he had to fly from London to Madrid and back again to get a replacement before the 13-hour flight to KL.
“I was on a train going from my home in Switzerland to the airport and I had my bag stolen, so all my personal stuff – passport, money, credit cards, computer, camera, iPad – was gone,” said the Spaniard.
Schwartzel, four under after 11 holes overnight, resumed play at 7.45am local time and completed an opening 67 in style, chipping in for a birdie on the 18th. That left him two shots behind first-round leader Kiradech, and he wiped out the deficit with birdies at the tenth and 11th then picked up shots on 17 and 18 to be out in 32. More birdies followed on the third and fifth but he dropped two shots in a row on the sixth and seventh and had to settle for a round of 68.
“I can’t be too hard on myself because it’s extraordinarily hot out there,” Schwartzel said. “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.
“At least I’ve given myself a chance; I’m playing consistently and if I had been a bit sharper I maybe could have separated myself from the field.”
Wu also added a 68 to his opening 67, rolling in a 12ft birdie at the ninth, his last. “I’m very happy and my putting is good,” Wu said. “I read the lines very well and that made me relax.”