PEREZ SCRAMBLES TO THE FRONT
American finishes the day with eight birdies and one bogey
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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