Otto steals Malaysian Open limelight

South African players continued to dominate the Malaysian Open before play was suspended due to bad weather.

Golf News: Hennie Otto

And that was despite overnight leader Charl Schwartzel, the former Masters champion, dropping down the leaderboard.

Hennie Otto stole the limelight from his more renowned countrymen to set the clubhouse target before thunderstorms forced the players off the course and led to play being abandoned.

Otto fired an unblemished round of 64 to hold a share of the lead with compatriot Jbe Kruger on nine under par.

Kruger also carded eight birdies, his only hiccup coming with a bogey at the par-five third to go around in 65 today.

The pint-sized Kruger, who took 27 putts in his round, is hoping to strike his irons hot during the weekend as he chases a second Asian Tour victory following his maiden success at the Avantha Masters in India in February.

“I’ve been working on a lot of things and it seems to be coming together which is always a good sign. I just worked a bit on my swing which is not really a 100% yet. My ball striking used to be my strength and now it is my weakness,” said Kruger.

“The mind-set will be the same. I’m going to hit it one shot at a time. I won’t really call it giving as Charl and Louis a run for their money because I just finished awesomely. It is just fun to be in contention, it doesn’t matter if it is with Charl or Louis,” smiled Kruger.

Louis Oosthuizen, who lost a dramatic play-off to Bubba Watson at the Masters last week, was alone in third on eight under after 12 holes of his second round.

Oosthuizen and Schwartzel made a 30-hour journey from the United States to Kuala Lumpur to take their place in the field and while Schwartzel showed no ill-effects yesterday, when he shot 64 to take the overnight lead, he laboured this morning.

The 27-year-old carded three bogeys and one birdie on the front nine, and then also bogeyed the 11th shortly before play was suspended.

That left Schwartzel four off the pace on five under par, two behind former world number one Martin Kaymer and American David Lipsky, who had both completed second-round 67s.

It has been a wild ride for Lipsky, who first topped the Qualifying School in January before breaking out for his maiden professional win in Cambodia. He continued his Asian sojourn with a stunning eagle from 75 yards on the third hole and four other birdies.

“You don’t always get the opportunity to play with these players. I played with Branden Grace and Simon Dyson, both are premier players on the European Tour. It is great to also be competing against Oosthuizen and Schwartzel. It is everything I dreamt of as a little kid … to be competing against the best in the world. I’m loving this opportunity,” said Lipsky.

Danny Willett was the best-placed Englishman on six under after carding back-to-back rounds of 69.

The Yorkshireman's round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-five fifth, as he also mixed three birdies with a pair of bogeys to ensure he will be well placed for the weekend.

Martin Kaymer, the highest ranked player in the field, charged into contention with six birdies on the card. “I played really well and gave myself a lot of birdie chances. I had a good eagle chance on three and felt like a hit a lot of good putts but maybe just over-read the greens. I feel good about the game and if I can make a few more putts I feel I can really get into the tournament,” said the German, winner of the 2010 PGA Championship.

Jyoti Randhawa failed to reproduce Thursday's fireworks as he settled for a battling 72, which included two birdies against as many bogeys. The Indian, an eight-time winner but not since 2009, conceded he got ahead of himself in his bid to end his title drought.

"I was a little anxious, trying to make putts, trying to hit shots. Wasn't committed and wasn't focused to what I needed to do and play. I was more focused on the result and scoring. I had a few opportunities and had a few misses. Probably I was over anxious trying to make a score," he said.

"The swing was a bit patchy. Best thing is that I know what I need to do. But I need to do it under pressure. I need to stay behind the ball. I have a tendency to move ahead of the ball. I need to be more centred and balanced. It's a very old habit and I guess old habits die hard," added Randhawa.



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