Chia charges to Johor lead

Danny Chia © Arep Kulal|PGM Tour

Johor Bahru [JOHOR]: Malaysian ace Danny Chia fired an eight-under-par 64 to open up a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Palm Resort Championship, which has been reduced to 54 holes.

The 43-year-old Chia returned on Friday morning to finish round two where he fired a flawless round highlighted by eight birdies to lead on 14-under-par 130 at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Oscar Zetterwall of Sweden, who won his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) event last week, trail in second place following a 65 while Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn and Sutijet Kooratanapisan were a further shot back on 133.

Officials were forced to shorten the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) event due to several weather delays during the week. The third and final round will now start on Saturday at 7.30am.

Leading second round scores (Par-72):
Malaysian unless stated
130 – DANNY CHIA 66-64
132 – Oscar Zetterwall (SWE) 67-65
133 – Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA) 65-68, Sutijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 65-68
134 – Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 70-64
135 – Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (THA) 68 67, Panuwat Muenlek (THA) 68-67
136 – Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 68-68, Koh Dengshan (SIN) 67-69
137 – Nirun Sae-Ueng (THA) 69-68, MOHD IYLIA JAMIL 67-70, Chanwoo Kim (KOR) 69-68, Ye Htet Aung (MYN) 68-69

Chia, the reigning PGM Tour Order of Merit champion, was delighted to be in the lead after missing the halfway cut in Japan on the Asian Tour last week.

He posted four birdies on each nine and will enter the third and final round with a slight edge over Zetterwall, who claimed an emphatic first win in the Philippines last week.

“I played nicely when I returned this morning. This is a golf course with many scoring opportunities and I took advantage of that. It is always nice to shoot a bogey free round. I’m playing consistently at the moment so that’s a positive sign,” said Chia.

“I’m in the lead now so it doesn’t affect me if the round is reduced to 18 holes. The goal remains the same which is to play consistently and hope the putts drop,” added the national number one.