Rawang [SELANGOR]: Kemarol Baharin stayed on course for a fourth Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour crown after taking a share of the halfway lead at the PGM UMW Championship on Thursday.
Kemarol, 30, shot a bogey-free 68 to join Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul and American Shane Smith atop the leaderboard on on eight-under-par 136 total.
The power-packed Namchok, who claimed his breakthrough Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory in Sabah last month, fired a six-under-par 66 at the Templer Park Country Club while 26-year-old Smith returned with seven birdies against two bogeys at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) ADT event.
Freshman Shunya Takeyasu of Japan produced the day’s lowest score of 65 to sit one shot back in fourth place alongside Sweden’s Oskar Arvidsson (67), American Paul Harris (66) and Jose Rolz (68) of Guatemala.
Kemarol, who has enjoyed two top-ten finishes in three starts this year, is delighted to put himself in good position as he kept up his chase for another victory at Templer Park, having won the 2013 Tournament of Champions at the Jumbo Ozaki-designed tract.
“I kept it pretty much the same. I hit the ball good and I putted well too. I sank in from one pin away for all my birdies today. I played with Namchok and he putted really well. I just hope to continue my good form for the next two rounds and we will see how it goes.”
Namchok credited his solid iron-play and his hot putter for a commendable round which saw him sank a 25-footer for birdie on par-three second hole.
“My iron-play was good and I putted nicely today. Winning in Sabah last month was a great boost of confidence but nothing has really changed since. I just want to enjoy my game. I am looking forward to the next two rounds,” said the 28-year-old Thai.
Leading second round scores (Par-72) >
Malaysian unless stated
136 – Namchok Tantipokhakul (THA) 70-66, Kemarol Baharin 68-68, Shane Smith (USA) 69-67
137 – Oskar Arvidsson (SWE) 70-67, Paul Harris (USA) 71-66, Jose Rolz (GTM) 69-68, Shunya Takeyasu (JPN) 72-65
138 – Panuwat Muenlek (THA) 68-70, Baxter Reeves (USA) 68-70, Samuel Chin (USA) 69-69,
139 – Nicolas Paez (USA) 69-70, Doohwan Bang (KOR) 67-72
140 – John Catlin (USA) 70-70, Nick Sherwood (USA) 72-68