Kuala Lumpur (Reuters) – Gary Woodland carded a sizzling second round of 11-under par 61 to tie the course record and soar to the joint halfway lead at the CIMB Classic on Friday.
The 34-year-old American sank 11 birdies in his blemish-free round to match the course record Justin Thomas set during his victorious 2015 campaign at the TPC Kuala Lumpur.
“I just played solid just like I did yesterday, I just made more putts,” said Woodland, who shares the top spot with Marc Leishman at 14-under 130.
“I think I hit 17 greens, which obviously is a big deal, but I made some putts, too, which is nice.”
Woodland has not missed the tournament since 2013 and is hoping to be third time lucky having finished second in 2013 and 2014.
“I can be aggressive out here. I can hit a lot of drivers, which is a huge advantage. And the other holes, you know, irons into some of the tougher holes, I’m laying back.”
Leishman’s bogey-free round of 62 filled him with title hopes.
“It would be nice to get in the winner’s circle again this year,” said the Australian.
“I played well last year but didn’t win anything, so that’s probably the goal – to win again. Just have to do everything right and that generally takes care of itself. That’s what I intend to do.”
Ryder Cup winner Paul Casey threw himself into the mix with a 65 to share the third spot with India’s Shubhankar Sharma one shot behind.
Sharma drained nine birdies against a single bogey for his 64.
“Just that one bad shot on the second, but other than that I was hitting it pretty good,” said the 22-year-old.
“So really happy with where I am right now and I just want to continue doing that for the next two days.”
Thomas, seeking a third CIMB Classic title, slipped to a share of 15th place following a 69.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)