PEREZ SCRAM­BLES TO THE FRONT

Amer­i­can fin­ishes the day with eight birdies and one bo­gey

New Straits Times - - Sport -

FARAH AZHARIE AND SAI­FUL AFFENDY SAPRAN nst­sport@nst.com.my

Perez, in his fifth ap­pear­ance at the CIMB Clas­sic (best fin­ish­ing was ninth in 2012), shot four-con­sec­u­tive birdies on the front nine as he fin­ished the day with eight birdies and one bo­gey.

De­spite yes­ter­day’s round stopped by close to three-hour rain, Perez couldn’t have asked for bet­ter con­di­tions as he held a one-shot lead over com­pa­triot Xan­der Schauf­fele at 13-un­der­par 131.

“I don’t want sun­shine at all, it’s too hot, way too hot.”

“No, I like it just the way it is right now, per­fect, cloudy, no wind - per­fect,” he said.

The 41-year-old will be look­ing to add the US$7 mil­lion (RM29 mil­lon) tour­na­ment to his cre­den­tials as he seeks a third win on the PGA Tour with his last win in Novem­ber at the OHL Clas­sic at Mayakoba.

But 24-year-old Schauf­fele could stand in Perez’s way as the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year closed at 67 for a 12-un­der-par 132 to­tal with a stun­ning ea­gle on the third hole.

The Tour Cham­pi­onship win­ner is keep­ing his game “bor­ing” be­cause he does not want it to get “too ex­cit­ing” on the TPC Kuala Lumpur west course.

“Bor­ing is good - to­day (yes­ter­day), was a lit­tle more ex­cit­ing, I hit it a lit­tle bit off­line but when I say bor­ing, I mean it in the best way, shape and form.

“Bor­ing is prob­a­bly the wrong word to use but when a golfer says bor­ing, bor­ing means fair­ways, greens, you’re mak­ing putts be­cause you don’t want to be too ex­cit­ing out here.”

Schauf­fele also at­trib­uted his form to the fact that he is not do­ing any­thing “stupid.”

“Ev­ery­thing’s kind of right where it needs to be, I would say.”

“I’m not do­ing any­thing stupid be­cause when I have been out of po­si­tion, I’ve man­aged to...it’s easy to get greedy since you’re out of po­si­tion so you kind of have a wedge in and kind of force it at the pin even though there’s wa­ter around.”

Overnight leader Aus­tralian Cameron Smith droppd to third spot with South Korea’s Kang Sung and Bel­gian Thomas Pi­eters fol­low­ing his round of 71 where he carded a bo­gey and a dou­ble bo­gey on the fourth, play­ing to an ag­gre­gate of nine-un­der-par 135.

Two-time CIMB Clas­sic cham­pion Thomas Justin failed to find his stride af­ter fin­ish­ing his sec­ond round on 71 for a two-day to­tal of one-un­der-par 141.

131 Pat Perez (US) 66-65; 132 Xan­der Schauf­fele (US) 65-67; 135 Cameron Smith (Aus) 64-71; 135 Thomas Pi­eters (Bel) 68- 67; 135 Kang Sung-Hoon (Kor) 67-68; 136 Kee­gan Bradley (US) 65-71; 137 Rafael Cabr­era-Bello (Spa) 67-70; 138 Kyle Stan­ley (US) 71-67; 138 Danny Lee (NZ) 73-65; 138 Hideki Mat­suyama (Jpn)70-68;138 Adam Had­win (Can) 71- 67; 138 Bren­dan Steele (US) 67-71; 138 Michael Kim (US) 68-70; 138 Lu­cas Glover (US) 71-67

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