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Friday, 15 April 2011
 Matteo Manassero   (Getty Images)
Matteo Manassero (Getty Images)

Italian Matteo Manassero finished with back-to-back birdies to lie four shots behind leaders Rory McIlroy and Alexander Noren at the conclusion of the Maybank Malaysian Open second round.

Manassero, who had posted an opening round six under par 66, had struggled by comparison in his second round, which was delayed by nearly three hours on Friday due to lightning.

And after the 17 year old managed to complete his round, torrential rain came down, which forced the remaining groups off at 9.45am with Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club flooded and led to a delay of almost three and a half hours.

“It was very important to finish with two birdies,” said Manassero.” I didn’t play as well as the first day. It was stop start and not easy to keep your rhythm. It was not an easy day but I was happy to have finished with two birdies to be in fourth position and we’ll see what happens on the weekend.

“You take confidence from a finish like that because I was struggling and to finish under par with two birdies on 17 and 18 gives you confidence and its two less shots meaning I’m coming into the weekend four behind the leaders.

“I’m going to practice a little bit and see if I can fix a few things. I’m quite positive. I like the course. I just need to work on the consistency of the shot – try to strike each one a little better.”

Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel also signed for a 71 after finishing his second round with five straight pars. The South African made it through to the weekend right on the cut mark of level par, along with compatriot Louis Oosthuizen, the Open Champion.

“This morning I actually started playing better than I did the first two days,” said Schwartzel. “I actually started swinging pretty much how it had felt like the last couple of weeks. Yesterday I was a bit conscious about being better but myself and Louis have not made a single putt on these greens. We’re pulling our hair out. We’ve not made any, putting it mildly.

“But my swing felt better. If we can hang in there to make the cut and then have a good weekend and fire a low one. It’s definitely feeling better.

“Coming from Augusta where it is like a snooker table to playing on greens where there is a lot of grains and really slow makes it quite difficult. I’m just not finding the lines. I’m actually hitting good putts but there not going in the hole. That’s a positive. My swing feels better and if I can keep putting and they start dropping I can make some birdies.

Schwartzel paid tribute to the way joint leader Rory McIlroy has so far responded to his Masters disappointment and also the gruelling journey from Augusta National.

“Rory has been impressive,” he said.” He’s playing really well. He’s such a good player. He jumped back on it very quickly. That’s the sign of a true champion. I’m very pleased to see him play well and put it behind him.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MANASSERO, MatteoITA18-16
2BOURDY, GrégoryFRA18-15
3MCILROY, RoryNIR18-14
T4CABRERA-BELLO, RafaESP18-13
T4NOREN, AlexanderSWE18-13
6AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-12
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