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Saturday, 21 February 2004
Finland’s Mikko Ilonen picked up two strokes in his last three holes of the second round to climb to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Carlsberg Malaysian Open at Saujana Golf Club, Kuala Lumpur.

The 2001 Amateur Champion resumed his second round on the sixth hole after play was suspended on Friday afternoon as torrential rain and a thunderstorm hit the course, and continued where he left off the previous day. Having birdied his last two holes on Friday he came out refreshed and picked up two more birdies at the seventh and ninth holes to complete a four under par 68 for a halfway total of 136, eight under par.

That put him one stroke clear of Lee Sung-man of Korea and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant with Ireland’s Paul McGinley and Greg Hanrahan of the United States a further stroke adrift on six under par.

Colin Montgomerie continued his advance up the leaderboard, recovering from a bogey on the 15th with two birdies to finish a round of 66, six under par, to lie on five under par 139, three strokes off the lead.

Ilonen, the only Finnish golfer currently on The European Tour, said: “Nice start to the day. I only had three and a half holes to play so it was perfect. I birdied the last two holes yesterday before play was suspended. Then made two birdies this morning on the seventh and ninth so things are heading in the right direction.”

The cut fell at one over par with 71 players progressing to the final two rounds.

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