Friday, 22 March 2019
Ernie Els  (Getty Images)
Ernie Els (Getty Images)

Ernie Els was delighted with his return to form after Friday's 70 at the Maybank Championship kept him in contention for a first European Tour victory since the 2013 BMW International Open.

Els sits just two shots behind halfway leader Thomas Pieters after carding four birdies and two bogeys in tricky scoring conditions at Saujana Golf and Country Club.

The four time Major Champion treated the locals to a short game masterclass out on course, draining a monster putt on the 14th green and almost holing from an unlikely spot at the 16th.

And he is pleased to playing well. He said: "It's so good to be hot, you try to enjoy it.

"I think scoring conditions are a bit tougher than last year. I've never played here before but from what I've heard the guys usually make a lot of birdies. 

"With the new greens the ball is releasing a bit and I kind of like that.

"The last four years have been a real struggle, so I'm really happy that I'm playing good golf again. My body feels good and the ball striking is there now. 

"On the greens I'm starting to feel really comfortable, so that means I can have a chance again to play with these guys. 

"That's what I want, to feel like I can have a chance playing Saturdays and Sundays and that's kind of my goal.

"I've got to keep doing what I'm doing and eliminate the little mistakes. Got to try to get into the 60s and if you're within three or four going into Sunday you've got a chance. 

"Shubhankar (Sharma) showed that last year, coming out of the pack and winning.

"It's a course that can really give you birdies but also take them away if you're not playing sensibly."

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