Friday, 19 February 2016
Richard Bland  (Getty Images)
Richard Bland (Getty Images)

Richard Bland may have gone bogey-free for his first 36 holes at the Maybank Championship Malaysia but he will be focusing on birdies over the weekend at Royal Selangor Golf Club.

A blemish-free 65 on Friday moved the Englishman to 11 under, two shots behind halfway leader Nathan Holman, as Bland seeks his first win in 378 European Tour events.

To break his duck, he will have to not only catch Holman but keep World Number 13 Danny Willett at bay, with his countryman five shots off the lead alongside Jorge Campillo, Soomin Lee and Miguel Tabuena.

But with a solid start to the season behind him and a new driver in hand, Bland is in confident mood in Kuala Lumpur.

"Very pleased," he said. "To go round here without dropping a shot in two days takes some doing. Hopefully I can continue the run going over the weekend.

"Nathan's obviously playing well, I played with him at the Dunhill and he's a very impressive player. And Danny's also flying at the weekend.

I'm going to have to keep making birdies just to keep up - Richard Bland

"I've struck my irons as well as I have for some time. I also picked up a new TaylorMade driver in Dubai, and it's added 15 yards to my drives.

"I decided to throw the old one away. I drove it really well that week, and that's the case again here.

"When you've got a shorter club in your hand, you can try to be a bit more aggressive."

Willett overcame illness to sign for a 69 and was pleased with his performance over two rounds on a course he enjoys.

"I would've taken eight under after two rounds," he said.

"It's a brilliant golf course because you don't have to move the tees around too much to change the hole, if you change the flags it can still affect what you do from the tee. So I love the design.

"You can still be aggressive and take the hole on if you want, but if you hit it in the rough you lose all control for your second shot. So it really makes you think out there."

Campillo joined Willett in following an opening 69 with a 65 and knows he will have to go low over the weekend if he is to claim his first win.

"I didn't play that well compared to yesterday, but I still managed to shoot a good score," he said. "I didn't drive the ball very well, so I missed a few fairways and also missed a few short putts. But I also holed a few long ones, so it probably evened itself out overall.

"It's always good to have a chance going into the last two days. I feel confident on this golf course, I like it. I'll need to play better to have a chance of winning, though."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FRASER, MarcusAUS18-15
T2TABUENA, MiguelPHI18-13
T2LEE, SoominKOR18-13
T4QUESNE, JulienFRA18-12
T4CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18-12
T6BLAND, RichardENG18-11

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