Thailand’s Jasmine Suwannapura recovered from two early bogeys to maintain her lead at the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, courtesy of a three-under-par round of 69.
Suwannarpurna’s 12-under 132 through two rounds kept her one shot ahead of American Rose Zhang, who shot up to second after shooting a 68 on day two.
France’s Celine Boutier shot the lowest score of the round with a 64 courtesy of nine birdies, finishing ahead of a trio of golfers five shots back.
South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai is two under (T47) after a second-round 73.
But it was business as usual for Suwannapura on a clear day in the Malaysian capital as she bids to win her third title on the LPGA Tour.
She made a horrendous start with two bogeys on the first three holes, but the 30-year-old kept her composure and grew in confidence as the round went on.
Suwannapurna secured her first birdie on the par-four 6th hole and went on to produce a solid back nine with another four birdies.
The Bangkok-born golfer said the poor start didn’t worry her too much.
“I didn’t really get stressed about the two bogeys, as I felt the pin positions were not easy at all. I just kept trying my best and hopefully get some birdies in,” she said.
“After I missed a birdie putt on the 18th hole, I asked my caddie who was leading. I didn’t think I was still leading.”
Like Suwannapurna, Zhang also had to overcome an early bogey before she reeled off four birdies.
A double-bogey on the 14th threatened to undo all that good work, but the 20-year-old again recovered admirably with another three birdies.
“I think in general, you really have to have a solid game plan. You have to be able to commit to every single shot and never give up,” she said. “If you’re rolling your putts well, you’ll have a good amount of birdie opportunities.”
The Maybank Championship is the penultimate event of the Asian Swing and offers a prize purse of $3-million, the most lucrative in the region.
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