Friday, October 21, 2016

Russell Knox moves up with a nine-birdie 63 at 

  Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur: Defending champion Justin Thomas pulled two shots clear of India’s Anirban Lahiri at the halfway stage of the US$7 million CIMB Classic following a bogey-free, six-under-par 66 today.
The 23-year-old American, who has held at least a share of the lead since last year’s second round, was rock steady once again at TPC Kuala Lumpur as he put together six birdies on his card for a 14-under-par 130 total.Reigning Asian Tour number one Lahiri was poised to tie Thomas but suffered a double bogey at the par five 18th hole, the second straight day he has dropped two shots at the end of his round.
Scot Russell Knox (pictured) produced the round of the day with a brilliant, nine-birdie 63 to charge into a share of third position with American James Hahn and Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama, who both carded 64s. They are three back in the prestigious tournament sanctioned by the US PGA Tour and Asian Tour.
Thomas felt he could have gone lower
“I didn't play as well as I did yesterday. I drove it better which was good but I definitely had a couple iron shots and a couple wedges that I felt like I should have hit closer, but bogey-free is always good,” said Thomas, who is ranked 35th in the world.

After winning with a tournament record of 26-under-par 262 last year, the slender American could not explain why he has dominated the CIMB Classic since his career breakthrough victory.
“If I keep playing well, I don't really care. There are definitely some holes that fit my eye, and there are a couple tee shots on the par fives where I have a little bit of an advantage over some guys. But you still have to hit the shots. I feel like I'm playing pretty well,” he said.
Lahiri, runner-up in Macao last weekend, was kicking himself after dropping shots late his in his round for the second successive day. He found consolation that he has continued to make a hatful of birdies, raking up 25 birds over his last 47 holes since last Sunday.
“It's just very disappointing to finish the way I did. Both days I think I left four or five shots out there coming in. I would have liked to be in a better position the way I've played but it's not over yet. If I can switch that around the next two days, and get in the hunt on Sunday afternoon, I think I'm playing well. Hopefully I can just keep the intensity through the weekend,” said Lahiri, a seven-time Asian Tour winner
Knox, the world number 20, needed just 25 putts to negotiate the greens at TPC KL as he moved into contention for a third US PGA Tour victory. He was surprised to improve his scoring by seven strokes after opening with a 70 on Thursday.
“I thought I could shoot maybe five, six-under would be a great score, and then I just started making
He fought hard to keep the bogeys from his card by making a par save at the last. “That was a nice par to make,” Knox said.
“I didn't make a bogey all day, so that was always a goal of mine. I got a little unlucky with my tee shot and was in a bad position. So to make five on the last hole makes lunch taste real nice,” said Knox, 31,  from Inverness who plays the US PGA Tour from his Jacksonville, Florida base.


par 144 (2x72). Yardage: 7,005
130 Justin THOMAS (USA) 64-66.
132 Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 66-66.
133 Russell KNOX (SCO) 70-63, James HAHN (USA) 69-64, Hideki MATSUYAMA (JPN) 69-64.
134 Marc LEISHMAN (AUS) 69-65, Derek FATHAUER (USA) 64-70.
136 Brendan STEELE (USA) 67-69, Keegan BRADLEY (USA) 64-72, Zac BLAIR (USA) 70-66, Siwoo KIM (KOR) 70-66, Ryan MOORE (USA) 71-65, Scott PIERCY (USA) 68-68, Rafa CABRERA BELLO (ESP) 69-67.
137 Jamie LOVEMARK (USA) 68-69, Charles HOWELL III (USA) 68-69, Paul CASEY (ENG) 65-72, Ryo ISHIKAWA (JPN) 69-68.
138 Aaron BADDELEY (AUS) 67-71, Kevin KISNER (USA) 68-70, Patrick RODGERS (USA) 70-68, Alex CEJKA (GER) 70-68, Vijay SINGH (FIJ) 71-67.
139 Emiliano GRILLO (ARG) 74-65, Adam SCOTT (AUS) 70-69, Jeunghun WANG (SKOR) 70-69, Kevin NA (USA) 70-69, Harold VARNER III (USA) 68-71, Sunghoon KANG (SKOR) 70-69, Daniel SUMMERHAYS (USA) 70-69, Tyrone VAN ASWEGEN (RSA) 69-70, Sergio GARCIA (ESP) 67-72, Younghan SONG (SKOR) 70-69.



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