Chia’s challenge suffers setback

A dejected Danny Chia was disappointed with his second round effort © eddieputera|The ClubHouse

Kuala Lumpur: Danny Chia’s title hopes at the CIMB Classic suffered a major setback on Friday as the top-ranked Malaysian failed to recover from a trio of double bogeys to register a dismal second round 75. 

The score left him in a share for 41st on one-under 141 alongside Americans Sean O’Hair and David Lipsky with the 40-year-old Kuala Lumpur native having much to think ahead of the weekend rounds at The MINES Resort & Golf Club.

“All I can say is that I hit some bad shots. I didn’t manage to recover from it and that just made the situation much worse. I didn’t post a bogey here all week [even during my practice rounds] but had three doubles today,” said a dejected Chia.

Despite a strong start with a birdie on the third to move to six-under for the tournament, back-to-back errant drives on the fourth and the fifth crippled his momentum before he dropped two further strokes on the twelfth.

“I was really caught by surprise when I hooked my drive on the fourth and it raised doubts about my swing there and then. On the next hole, I tried to draw it a little right to compensate for the mistake but it didn’t work out,” he shrugged, admitting that he momentarily lost control of his focus in the searing heat.

“It’s a little difficult to stay clam when thinks aren’t working. I misread a couple of greens and I kept pushing hard to recoup my losses with birdies and try and get back in position,” added Chia, who finished with a birdie on the 17th.

With his title hopes up in smokes, the 40-year-old is aiming to finish strongly with a leaderboard finish just like last year. “I definitely have to go back to the drawing board and try my hardest to come back. There’s no point talking about winning any more but I can get into the same position which I did last year, I will be happy.”

Despite an improved second round 73, a crocked Shaaban Hussin remained propped at the bottom of the heap, joined by Bangladeshi Siddikur (74) and Scott Hend (77) of Australia on five-over 147.

“My game was slightly better. I didn’t do much mistakes compared to yesterday. My hitting was consistent but I missed a couple of short putt,” rued Shaaban, who dropped a double bogey on the fifth when his ball took a drink.

“I can’t force myself too much because my shoulder is still hurting. My back swing is okay but I can feel the pain on my downswing. The doctor told me that I could carry on as long as I can hit the ball, so I will continue despite the injury,” he added.