Sungai Buloh [SELANGOR]: A strong approach game saw Sukree Othman open up a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the RM200,000 PGA Championship of Malaysia on Friday.
The 39-year-old continued his solid display at Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia, mixing six birdies with two bogeys en-route to a four-under 68 effort, which left him at nine-under 135 overall.
Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari scrambled hard to stay in contention with a two-under 70 in second, a stroke clear of seasoned campaigner Shaaban Hussin and 2003 champion Airil Rizman Zahari, who returned with matching 69s.
Kenneth Tobuse (69) and Kemarol Baharin (71) were tied for fifth on 139 in the Championship, organised by the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia.
Wielding his irons with confidence, Sukree missed only three of the 14 greens at the demanding Lakes course and credited his ball striking for his advantage after two rounds.
“I have been hitting the ball really well so far this week and my driver has been behaving. With so much water hazards around, it is crucial to keep the ball on the fairways and that set up my short game perfectly.
“I gave myself a lot of chances out there but failed to convert some of the trickier putts, which was the only disappointment of the day,” said Sukree.
He hopes to end a 28-month winless streak in his first appearance at the storied tournament, which is making a return after a seven-year absence.
“My last title was in Perlis back in July 2013 and I’ve come close since, especially early this year when I posted two consecutive runner-up finishes. It’s hard to predict when luck will be on your side but if I keep draining those putts, I would have done my part,” he added.
Akhmal on his part was just pleased to be back in the mix after a couple of frustrating months on Tour.
“It’s nice to be in contention for a change. I haven’t done anything different this week but two rounds in the red is quite positive. Just have to eliminate some silly mistakes and judge my long putts a little bit better,” noted the former national.
The halfway cut came at 12-over-par 156 with 54 players – including three amateurs – advancing into the weekend rounds.
The PGA Championship of Malaysia is presented with the support of Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia, PinHigh, Malindo Air, Spritzer with The ClubHouse as the official media partner.
Leading second round scores (Par-72)
Professional unless stated
135 – Sukree Othman 67-68
137 – Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari 67-70
138 – Shaaban Hussin 69-69, Airil Rizman Zahari 69-69
139 – Kenneth Tobuse 70-69, Kemarol Baharin 68-71
140 – Lam Yu Shuen 73-67
141 – Mohd Rizal Amin 70-71, Iylia Jamil 79-72, Nachimuthu Ramasamy 77-64
142 – Chan Soo Keong 72-70, Hans Jamil 73-69, Low Khai Jei (A) 72-70