KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - American Billy Hurley III grabbed a two-shot halfway stage lead at the CIMB Classic after his front-nine birdie binge at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Friday.
The former US Navy officer sunk six birdies for an outward 30 in his second successive round of 67 to go 10-under-par 134 in the tournament sanctioned by the PGA and Asian Tour.
Compatriot Kevin Streelman carded a bogey-free 68 to lie second, one shot ahead of a pack of seven that included Englishman Lee Westwood, who shot a hole-in-one en route to the day’s low of 65, Spaniard Sergio Garcia (68) and defending champion Ryan Moore (69).
“I even played a little bit better probably than the score is on the front side,” said Hurley who dropped a double bogey on the second and birdied the seventh.
“I hit a lot of really good putts that kind of just hit the edge. There are 36 holes of golf left. You know, a two-shot lead is better than a one-shot lead, but it’s not quite as good as a four-shot lead. You always want to have more,” added Hurley, eyeing his maiden PGA Tour win.
Westwood charged into contention with the shot of the day when he aced the par-three 11th.
“Obviously I hit a great shot at 11 that was the highlight of the round,” said the Ryder Cup player who also rolled in five birdies.
“You need a bit of luck but at the same time you’ve got to hit well and straight.
“I went back out after the rain delay and birdied two of the last three and had a really good chance at 17 as well...so pleased with the way I finished, and 65 has got me right into the tournament,” said Westwood.
Playing partner Garcia hit six birdies in his round, while South Korean Noh Seung-yul also remained three shots behind after hitting six birdies and three bogeys.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Toby Davis