Kuala Lumpur: It was a tough day for the Indians but Jyoti Randhawa kept his head up with an even par 72 to stay just three shots off the lead after a weather-hit second round at the Maybank Malaysian Open on Friday. Randhawa, six-under for 36 holes, was three shots adrift of joint leaders South Africans Hennie Otto (64) and Jbe Kruger (65).
Randhawa, playing in the morning when conditions were better and calmer, had a steady front nine with a one-under 35 but dropped bogeys on 11th and 14th, before a birdie on par-3 15th and then three pars saw him end the day at 72.
But things were not too good for the other Indians in the fray. Jeev Milkha Singh, who was seven-under after first round, was two-over through 11 holes in the second round. He had just one birdie and three bogeys and was five-under with five more to play. Gaurav Ghei (74), despite five bogeys, including one on the 18th, should make the cut at two-under for two rounds. He was tied 35th.
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. I 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. It's a very old habit and I guess old habits die hard."
Things did not look pleasant for Shiv Kapur, who after his triple bogey on second, was two-over through six holes and one-under for the tournament. Digvijay (72) was one-over and in tied 70th place, while Sujjan Singh (76), Chiragh Kumar (70) and defending champion Himmat Rai (73) were all at two-over 146 and will have a tense night waiting to see if they make the cut. Anriban Lahiri, even par for 12 holes, is three-over for the tournament, and will need to score well in remaining six holes as the cut looks likely to be at one or two-over.
Kruger, the current Asian Tour's Order of Merit leader, took full advantage of ideal conditions in the morning as he fired eight birdies against one bogey to tie countryman Hennie Otto, who fired a brilliant 64, on nine-under-par 135 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
American rookie David Lipsky extended his rich vein of form with a 67, pushing him to equal fourth place alongside world number seven Martin Kaymer of Germany (67) in the USD 2.5 million event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the European Tour.
Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, lying on eight-under for the championship through 12 holes, is amongst the 75 players who will return on Saturday morning to complete their rounds after an afternoon thunderstorm disrupted play. The third round is expected to begin at 11.30am local time.
Kruger was delighted to jointly lead the elite field, which includes his more illustrious countrymen Oosthuizen and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who lies on five-under through 12 holes which he was three-over par for the round.