Niall Turner was pleased to birdie the last and go into the weekend just two shots outside the top ten in the Maybank Championship in steamy Malaysia.
The 33-year old from Cork added a one under 71 to his opening 68 to share 19th on five-under-par at Saujana Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.
And while he's seven shots behind Austria's Bernd Weisberger, who became the first player in European Tour history to card nine consecutive birdies in the same round in a superb 63, he's looking forward to two more rounds.
One under to the turn, Turner birdied the 10th to get to six-under for the tournament but then made three bogeys and two birdies in his last seven holes as the heat began to take its toll.
"Three bogeys on the back were disappointing," he said. "There were soft bogeys really, but if you miss fairways, you lose all control into the green. So it was nice to finish with a birdie.
"My game was pretty similar to yesterday and my short game as been pretty sharp. But I didn't hit the ball great today, to be honest. It's very hot here, so I'm glad of the rest before tomorrow."
Greystones Paul Dunne bogeyed his final hole and missed his first cut since last October's Portugal Masters.
The 24-year old former Walker Cup player was level par starting the day and with two holes to go when he eagled his 17th hole, the par-five eighth
A bogey at the ninth meant he signed for a 71 to miss the two under par cut by the minimum, ending a run of five cheques in a row for the world number 248.
At the top of the leaderboard, Wiesberger birdied the third and then bogeyed the fourth to remain on three under before catching fire.
He birdied nine holes in a row from the seventh to the 15th, then followed a bogey at the 17th with a birdie four at the last for a 63 and a one-shot lead over Masters champion Danny Willett (67) on 12-under par.
Wiesberger's remarkable run will not go down as an official record due to preferred lies being in place at the sun-kissed Kuala Lumpur venue, it helped to elevate him 18 spots to the summit of the leaderboard on 12 under par.
He also carded a 63 the last time he played in Malaysia two years ago but he has the Masters champion breathing down his neck after Willett added a five under 67 to his first round 66 to move to 11 under.
The Englishman is chasing his first victory since that triumph at Augusta last April.
Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera came in late in the day with an impressive seven under 65 to join the USA’s David Lipsky in a share of third place on nine under, while Englishman Lee Westwood made a significant leap up the leaderboard to within seven shots of the lead courtesy of a six under 66 in the tougher morning conditions.
Bernd Wiesberger – Second Round 63 (-9), Total 132 (-12)
“I really tried to cut down on the shots, it was really warm out there this afternoon. I felt a bit beside myself to be honest, I just kept it going, I felt like I was on a good run and I felt comfortable pretty much the whole day after my bogey on four.
“I hit really good shots and I just felt calm out there. It felt kind of natural, I hit pretty good shots and really only holed two long ones which were the last birdie of the nine on 15 and about a 20-footer on 11.
“Apart from that I just hit them pretty close and felt like I had a good idea of what the ball was going to do on the green today again which was nice.
“It was nice to birdie the last. I felt like it was a good finish to what was a great round. I obviously felt a bit disappointed on 16 and 17 to let it slip a bit but all in all it was amazing out there and really good fun. The guys kept me at ease and let me just do my thing and it was good chemistry out there.”
Danny Willett – Second Round 67 (-5), Total 133 (-11)
“I played really good yesterday and it was a little bit scrappy today, but there was a storm brewing a few hours ago and the wind was flicking around so it was tough to get the club right so I scored nicely this afternoon.
“I holed a couple of nice putts when I needed to. I missed a couple of good chances too but if someone told me at the start of the say five under I would have bitten their hand off.
“I’ve just been committing to a few of the shots, it’s a relatively tight golf course on some of the holes if you want to take it on, so you just have to commit to a couple of the holes you like and hit good golf shots. I’ve not been necessarily perfect but if you’re trying to hit fade, they’ve got that look about them and if you’re trying to his draw it’s the same thing.
“But the last few weeks I’ve been trying to hit fade and I’ve been hitting them straight left and getting in all sorts of problems so everything has come on nicely. But I’ve been working hard so it’s nice it on the course.
“I’ve said it time and time again, it depends on the weather here. You can play it as conservatively off the tee as you like but you could have a long way into greens that are not necessarily big in the areas you’re trying to hit it to. Or you can try and take it on a little bit on a few holes to give yourself a wedge in.
“The reason the scoring is as good as it is is that you’ve got guys here who are hitting a long way with three woods and getting it in position and that’s giving then seven, eight, nine irons or wedges into the green, and you can reach the par fives. I’d have thought the scoring will continue to be pretty low.
“I think this heat brings everyone to my level. I sweat enough when it’s cold at home so IO think everyone struggles out here in the heat, For me being relatively fit it makes it a bit easier to manage four rounds here plus Pro-Am plus maybe another nine holes. It’s a gruelling week.
“I think at the end of the week it’s going to be whoever can keep their emotions under control and someone who is relatively fit and obviously the guy who can hole a few putts.”
Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) – Second Round 65 (-7), Total 135 (-9)
“That was good alright. My game has been solid for a while now and I managed to hole a few putts and that was a hot round in hot weather!
“As always if you shoot 65, you catch the fairways, hit it close to the pin and try to hole a few putts so it was the same as that.
“It could have been even lower today because I’ve been really hitting the ball well but I’ll take the 65 and go to sleep without any problems tonight. It will be nice to play in the last group tomorrow, I’ll definitely enjoy it.”
David Lipsky (USA) – Second Round 67 (-5), Total 135 (-9)
“It was great today, a bogey-free 67, my game felt good today. There was a little bit of a lull in the middle part but overall it was really good.
“Honestly, my short game has been the secret. I haven’t hit it amazingly, but I’ve got up and down most of the time and that’s kept me in it. I played in Asia for a few years so I’m used to the heat, it’s better than the cold in my opinion so I’m enjoying it.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the weekend. It’s always fun to be in contention and I’m right up there right now so we’ll see what happens.”
Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) – Second round 68 (-4), 136 (-8)
Really pleased. Played pretty solid. Got the start I wanted and made four birdies on the back nine (his opening nine) and kept it going on the front. Pretty happy. Had a few chances for birdies but couldn’t convert. I think I played pretty solid. I only missed three greens on the front nine and made good up and downs. Pretty pleased and just want to continue doing the same. It’s great to finish well. It’ll be good if I can just do the same thing this weekend.
I think it’s all part of my experience as a player. I’ve played in the leader groups in my career, last week and twice at the Panasonic Open India. I’m close to the leaders and I’m pretty comfortable now and playing in the final groups, it’s not easy but I’m getting used to it. The key is to stay relaxed and play like you’re playing in a normal practice round. That’s the only way you can get yourself to hit good shots. It’s becoming easier to do. Performances on the domestic tour also helps.
K.T. Kim (Kor) – Second Round 68 (-4), Total 136 (-8)
I’m putting better. Everything is pretty good but putting has been good. Last year, for the last six months, I didn’t putt good. So I changed my putting style in December. Last time, I addressed with the putter on the hell but I have now made the putter a bit flatter to the ground. I’m also trying to putt from low to high to get the ball to roll better from off the face. It feels much better.
This course, it’s not long but number nine and 14 are long holes. They’ve used the front tees the last two rounds but I suspect they will use the back tees from tomorrow. For the shorter hitters, it will be very hard.
If I can play another three or four under round, I’ll be happy and will have a chance to win. I hope to win an European Tour title but we’ve got two rounds to go. It’s not easy. There are many good players on the leaderboard but I’ll give it a try.
Marcel Siem – Second Round 71 (-1), Total 137 (-7)
“I am a little disappointed I have to say. I missed two five-footers for birdie on eight and nine. I played as good as yesterday, maybe even better, but I couldn’t get the ball in the hole so it’s a little frustrating, but tomorrow will be better.
“I hit a lot of really good shots. I think I missed two greens in regulation today and distance control was great, with cuts and draws, exactly how I wanted to hit everything. I will be happy tonight about everything but at the moment I’m still a little frustrated.
“There were a few funny flags. Yesterday Tommy and eye over-read every putt and they didn’t break at all. Today, going on what we did yesterday, we were missing everything on the low side. So they were a bit more slopy and grainy, so it was a little tougher to putt aggressively today. I think that was the difference.
“Especially after those last five weeks, I have to be happy with that. But when the fire comes and you see yourself on the leaderboard and then miss those chances, well you don’t want to miss them. I’m still in contention for tomorrow and Sunday, so that’s good.”
Sam Brazel (Aus) – Second Round 71 (-1), Total 137 (-7)
It was good. Obviously, my game wasn’t as good as yesterday, it was scrappy in patches, but we ground it out. One under is the score. The greens quickened up down grain today and into the grain will always be slow. I didn’t adjust too well on the greens but it is what it is.
Just keep plugging away and enjoy it out there. I was a bit hot-tempered today. Hopefully, I’ll resolve that and enjoy it a bit more over the next two days and enjoy it and make a few more putts.
It was my fault today, wasn’t quite switched on mentally. We’ll just go out and have fun over the weekend. See if we can go out and make some birdies and see what happens.
Shiv Kapur (Ind) – Second Round 67 (-5), Total 137 (-7)
It was pretty good. Started off with a bogey which is never a good thing but made eight birdies today which is a good thing. I played pretty well, holed the putts that I needed to. The greens are a bit more puttable this morning as obviously in the afternoon they’ll be a bit harder. Took advantage and made a few putts.
Great, anytime you finish well, you take a lot of positives into the weekend. I felt like I’m playing well but not really having the results in the past couple of weeks. It’s nice to actually put myself in position for once.
Holed a few more putts and being a bit more patient. Often in the past when I had a bad start, I would push a bit too hard, but I just stuck to my game plan and let the putts drop.
I love it here. I’ve been playing here since my amateur days. I lost a tournament here in a play-off back in 2000, and I always liked this course. It fits my eye. In spite of the changes, it still works for me. There are a lot of shots you need to shape out there, and I like to shape my shots both ways.
Yes, for the charity, which I think is a great initiative. Maybank does a lot for golf in Asia and golf in general and this is one of the ways for the players to say “thank you.”
Anirban Lahiri (Ind) – Second Round 68 (-4), Total 137 (-7)
It was good, played quite solid especially on the front nine. A couple of loose shots on the back nine but all in all, it was pretty solid. Think I could have made a couple more coming in but it’s not a bad position to be in going into the weekend.
When you play in the morning, it’s a bit wet, a bit more moisture which always helps. The greens tend to get scuffed up and you tend to get more spike marks in the afternoon. It gets a lot harder to make those putts later in the afternoon.
I think we enjoy playing out here. Malaysia is probably one of those places that bring out the best out from the Indian players. I think we’re comfortable in these grasses as well. Saujana is one of the tracks where a lot of players have played. I certainly have as an amateur, and we’ve come back now, and it’s probably one of those reasons.
I would have liked to be in a slightly better positions given the number of birdies I’ve made but all in all, I’m in a good position to make a run.
It’s always tough. Today was a bit better as on the front nine, it’s a bit cooler. It was much windier yesterday afternoon when we played. It’s good conditions to play right now compared to yesterday. It’s slightly softer in the morning and more accessible. I’m happy with how I played.
Your fuel intake is so important, your food, your electrolytes and water. It’s so important as any other part of your game this week. Refuelling is just as important this week.
I’m putting good, read the greens well except for the last hole. Feel like I give myself a lot of looks, I feel I can convert. Good spot to go into the weekend. Need one bogey-free round over the next two days to really get into the thick of things.
Just the last hole, hit to five feet on nine and just misread it.
I was trying to go with the flow. Had a couple of options. I had my psychedelic yellow pants which could have been a bit warmer but I stuck to the shirt. It’s something that needs to be encouraged out here in Asia. Great to see Maybank doing it and it needs to be pretty standard feature in our events. That’s the best way to give back to the game which is to give back to the community.
Matteo Manassero – Second Round 66 (-6), Total 137 (-7)
“It was a good round; I played very well. Obviously, the greens are better in the morning so you can execute the birdie chances you’ve got. It was very calm with not much wind, not more than five yards of wind.
“So it was scoreable, and I played well, so it was a good morning. The main difference was definitely on the greens. I played the par fives well today and holed a few putts. I think everybody has enough experience to be on top here and stay on top.
“If you play well after two rounds there is no reason why you shouldn’t stay there over the weekend. Of course, I like this place, and I’m going to bring that into the weekend, and hopefully, that’s going to keep me up there.”
Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) – Second Round 68 (-4), Total 139 (-5)
I think I played well. I think I hit 15 greens, putted better yesterday. Hit a lot of fairways and greens. I need to hole a lot of putts to get my confidence back. I’ve now made the cut, and if I can keep swinging it like today, I think I can catch up. My putting is getting better although I had another three-putt today. I feel like it’s getting better. The pins are tough on some holes, but it’s okay. I hit my irons so perfect today. Hit it so close on three holes. No complaints at hole.
Pablo Larrazábal – Second Round 67 (-5), Total 139 (-5)
“It was good. I started with a birdie but then three-putted my second hole, the 11th, and then I kept patient, I got into a patient mood. Yesterday I hit the ball very well, but the putts were not dropping.
“I knocked it to three foot on 17 for a birdie and then a lovely three wood on 18 to three foot for an eagle to go four under par for the front nine.
“Then it got slow again, I missed three or four four-footers on my back nine, but I’m very happy with five under.
“It’s going to be a very important weekend for me. If I play good I’m going to get into the WGC in a few weeks’ time – if not, I will have about eight weeks off to think about it! I like to play in this part of the world.
“I like Malaysia, a lot of good things have happened here, and a couple of strange things too [reference to the famous hornet attack in 2014], but I’m looking for a good weekend.”
132 B Wiesberger (Aut) 69 63,
133 D Willett (Eng) 66 67,
135 M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 70 65, D Lipsky (USA) 68 67,
136 S Sharma (Ind) 68 68, K Kim (Kor) 68 68,
137 M Manassero (Ita) 71 66, M Siem (Ger) 66 71, A Lahiri (Ind) 69 68, S Kapur (Ind) 70 67, S Brazel (Aus) 66 71, J Morrison (Eng) 70 67, A Levy (Fra) 69 68,
138 G Bhullar (Ind) 66 72, M Warren (Sco) 63 75, R Wattel (Fra) 68 70, R Rock (Eng) 71 67, S Rahman (Ban) 69 69,
139 G Havret (Fra) 69 70, P Larrazábal (Esp) 72 67, T Jaidee (Tha) 71 68, L Westwood (Eng) 73 66, P Meesawat (Tha) 69 70, Niall Turner (Irl) 68 71, F Zanotti (Par) 70 69, G Green (Mas) 68 71, L Bjerregaard (Den) 69 70, P Pittayarat (Tha) 70 69,
140 R Paratore (Ita) 69 71, L Haotong (Chn) 71 69, L Jensen (Den) 67 73, R Khan (Ind) 72 68, N Bertasio (Ita) 69 71, W Ashun (Chn) 73 67, P Khongwatmai (Tha) 65 75, T Sinnott (Aus) 70 70, S Lee (Kor) 67 73, S Hend (Aus) 74 66, T Fleetwood (Eng) 72 68, L Wenchong (Chn) 70 70, D Rahman (am) (Mas) 73 67,
141 J Veerman (USA) 73 68, D Chia (Mas) 72 69, C Pigem (Esp) 72 69, B Leong (Mas) 70 71, P Peterson (USA) 71 70, K Horne (RSA) 73 68, M Kieffer (Ger) 71 70, A Dodt (Aus) 72 69, A Da Silva (Bra) 72 69,
142 H Porteous (RSA) 70 72, C Kumar (Ind) 70 72, J Colomo (Esp) 72 70, G Stal (Fra) 72 70, V Dubuisson (Fra) 70 72, T Chuayprakong (Tha) 69 73, P Uihlein (USA) 66 76, M Korhonen (Fin) 73 69, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 70 72, F Aguilar (Chi) 72 70, N Fung (Mas) 70 72, J Randhawa (Ind) 73 69, A Irawan (Mas) 66 76, P Swangarunporn (Tha) 70 72, C Paisley (Eng) 72 70, A Otaegui (Esp) 70 72, L Wei-Chih (Tpe) 69 73, J Campillo (Esp) 73 69, D Koh (Sin) 72 70, M Kawamura (Jpn) 74 68,
143 J Lagergren (Swe) 73 70, R Karlsson (Swe) 68 75, Paul Dunne (Irl) 72 71, A Ye Htet (Mmr) 75 68, R Lee (Can) 68 75, M Fraser (Aus) 70 73, J Wang (Kor) 72 71, J Quesne (Fra) 73 70, C Luck (am) (Aus) 73 70,
144 M Tabuena (Phi) 71 73, P Tangkamolprasert (Tha) 74 70, C Shih-Chang (Tpe) 69 75, R Gangjee (Ind) 75 69, C Nirat (Tha) 72 72, D Drysdale (Sco) 72 72, B Hebert (Fra) 70 74, T Aiken (RSA) 73 71, M Mamat (Sin) 70 74, M Ilonen (Fin) 74 70, J Carlsson (Swe) 72 72, T Pilkadaris (Aus) 75 69, M Tran (Vie) 71 73, D Brooks (Eng) 72 72, G Storm (Eng) 76 68,
145 S Imahira (Jpn) 73 72, J Kameshiro (Jpn) 75 70, G Bourdy (Fra) 73 72, C Schwartzel (RSA) 71 74, R Ramsay (Sco) 73 72, A Atwal (Ind) 70 75, J Janewattananond (Tha) 74 71, D Horsey (Eng) 74 71, L Wen-Tang (Tpe) 74 71, R Karlberg (Swe) 71 74, R Fisher (Eng) 70 75, H Otto (RSA) 71 74, N Colsaerts (Bel) 75 70,
146 N Elvira (Esp) 74 72, D Boonma (Tha) 74 72, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 71 75, N Holman (Aus) 72 74, P Marksaeng (Tha) 71 75, A Zahari (Mas) 76 70, R Gouveia (Por) 75 71, O Zetterwall (Swe) 74 72, P Saksansin (Tha) 73 73,
147 H Chien-Yao (Tpe) 73 74, S Chawrasia (Ind) 72 75, Y Song (Kor) 70 77, S Takeyasu (Jpn) 75 72, G Gandranata (Ina) 72 75, G Coetzee (RSA) 71 76,
148 C S (Ind) 74 74, I Buranatanyarat (Tha) 74 74, S Othman (Mas) 75 73, S Norris (RSA) 76 72, N Srithong (Tha) 74 74, K Baharin (Mas) 70 78, J Walters (RSA) 73 75,
149 E Molinari (Ita) 76 73, S Vincent (Zim) 74 75, J Bayron (Phi) 78 71, J Kruger (RSA) 77 72, L Weber (Fra) 77 72,
150 J Singh (Ind) 71 79, S Kooratanapisan (Tha) 75 75, C Hinton (Eng) 77 73, A Kang (USA) 73 77,
151 M Southgate (Eng) 76 75, A Lascuna (Phi) 73 78,
152 K Khor (Mas) 76 76, R Jacquelin (Fra) 77 75,
153 K Low (Mas) 79 74, S Chien (USA) 81 72,
155 C O'Toole (USA) 76 79,
156 S S (Mas) 81 75, S M (Mas) 78 78, M Kumar (Ind) 77 79,
157 M Jamil (Mas) 78 79,
** A Que (Phi) 80 WD, O Fisher (Eng) 79 RT, R Wannasrichan (Tha) 82 WD, N R