India’s Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia faced contrasting fortunes in the closing stages, even as the threat of lightning forced a four-hour stoppage on the second day of the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur.
Lahiri, lying tied 8th overnight dropped to tied 23rd after a round of 73, while Chawrasia, lying close to the bottom after 16 holes in the second, picked himself with two closing birdies for a 71. Chawrasia is now tied 45, almost the same where he had started.
Lahiri’s 73 was his first over-par round in the last 14 rounds at TPC Kuala Lumpur, a period during which he won the Malaysian Open and finished tied 3rd at 2016 CIMB.
Perez in sole lead
Pat Perez, making his fifth appearance at CIMB, turned in a solid seven-under 65 with eight birdies against one bogey to move into sole lead at 13-under.
Perez had four birdies in a row from second to sixth and added two more on eighth and ninth for an incredible six-under second nine after starting from the 10th.
Chasing Perez was Xander Schauffele, who carded another fine round of 67, that included an eagle, a par, a birdie and a bogey in a four-hole stretch from third to sixth. He moved him to 12-under and sole second.
While Perez won the OHL Maykoba in the wrap-around segment of the previous season, Schauffelle won the Greenbrier and ended the rookie year with a win at the Tour Championships, which was his last start before coming to CIMB for a maiden appearance.
“It was one of those days, when things just didnt happen after that good start,” said Lahiri.
Earlier during the rain stoppage, he had said, “Rain delays is something we are used to in Malaysia.”
But possibly the early momentum was lost when players sat out for a long period, waiting for the weather to clear.
Lahiri had just the kind of a start he would have wanted with a birdie on the first and another one ready to be holed on second. That’s when play was stopped and did not resume till four hours later. When it did, Lahiri missed the birdie putt but made up with back-to-back gains on fourth and fifth.
Then it all turned the opposite way. A bogey on seventh was followed by a couple of missed birdies, before a duffed chip cost him another bogey on 12th. On the 16th he had another bogey and on 18th he went into jungle and then came onto the fairway before reaching the green in four. He needed to hole a 15-footer for par, but missed and finished at 73.
Chawrasia had a bogey on second, but before the rain came in he found a birdie on fourth and was even. A birdie on sixth, following a nice approach shot, saw him under par. The 11th gave him pain for the second day running as he followed up his first day’s double with a bogey today. Making it worse was a bogey on 12th.
Hideki Matsuyama (68), the highest ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, was tied 8th at six-under.
Perez, at 41, made his first Tour Championships last month, and on the 2016-2017 PGA Tour season he won once and claimed six other top-10s. He is bidding to become the oldest champion in the CIMB Classic.