Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, winner of the two of the last five tournaments in Asia including last week’s Myanmar Open, surged to the top of the leaderboard on nine under par in the Carlsberg Malaysian Open with seven birdies in 13 holes before play was suspended for the day as a thunderstorm hit Saujana Golf Club, Kuala Lumpur.
Australian Marcus Fraser, the winner of the 2003 BMW Russian Open on The European Tour International Schedule, Andrew Marshall of England and Ireland’s Paul McGinley lead The European Tour challenge in the event joint sanctioned with the Asian Tour in a tie for seventh place, two strokes off the lead.
McGinley, looking for his first victory since the 2001 Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open, briefly led the field after two birdies in his first three holes before a wayward drive on the sixth finished behind a tree and cost him his only shot of the round. A hole later, after parring the seventh, the heavens opened and players were called off the course.
“I’ve played well,” said McGinley. “I hit one bad shot and drove it behind a tree on the sixth. Chipped it out, hit a five iron on the green and made bogey. Other than that I’ve hit all the greens and given myself chances. That’s what I intend to do. Take some of the opportunities I am going to have and see what happens from there.
“There is a long way to go. It’s a difficult golf course. Thongchai is on a run today and everything is going right for him. But it is not a golf course you can play very aggressively. He is holding putts and feeling confident. But you have to bob and weave on this course. You can’t go flat out and attack it. You have to play smart golf. I’m not interested in playing aggressive. I am interested in playing smart and giving myself chances and see what happens tomorrow.”
Fraser was also going well, picking up four shots in the 12 holes he managed to complete to advance to seven under par while Marshall picked up three shots in his 11 holes.
Jaidee, a former paratrooper and winner of the 2001 Asian Tour Order of Merit, was on fire, racing to the turn in 32 before rattling home three more birdies from the 11th to reach seven under for the round, nine under for the tournament, before play was halted. Six of his seven birdies came from within eight feet.
“I hit a lot of approach shots close today,” he said. “I’m feeling good about my game, have worked hard on my swing and played really well the last few months.”
Jaidee was one of four Thai golfers at the top of the leaderboard with Prayad Marksaeng, Chawalit Plaphol and Thaworn Wiratchant lying just one shot behind alongside American Greg Hanrahan and Korean Lee Sung-man on eight under par.
The third round will resume at 8am. For the fourth round players will remain in their third round groups, the first groups teeing off at 10.10 local time (02.10 GMT) and the last groups teeing off at 12.00 local time (04.00 GMT).