Ben Crane of the United States shot a 7-under 64 Friday to take a share of the lead after the second round of the inaugural CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Southeast Asia. Crane, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, put together seven birdies and no bogeys in shooting the best round of the event so far.
The 40-man tournament at The Mines Resort and Golf Club also is sanctioned by the Asian Tour, and the field includes a mixture of players form both the PGA Tour and the Asian circuit. The winner will receive $1 million from the $6 million purse at the conclusion of the 72-hole, stroke-play event, though the money doesn’t count as official on the PGA Tour money list.
Crane is tied with Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand, who is ranked No. 237 in the world. Junhasavasdikul, a business management graduate of Purdue and licensed pilot, had five birdies over the last seven holes Friday for a 6-under 65.
“My putting is cooperating very much and my ball striking has been good,” said the 26-year-old Junhasavasdikul. “We’ve been working on finding consistency in the game and that’s been a reason for my form this year.”
Crane, visiting Malaysia for the first time, took advantage of solid iron play to give himself a chance of winning his second title of the year.
“It was a fun day. I haven’t really been overseas other than the British Open and we are having a great time and enjoying what Malaysia has to offer,” the 34-year-old said. “I got off to a fast start. I hit a nice wedge shot to about three feet for birdie on the first hole, and that always feels good and frees you up a little bit.”
First-round leader Ricky Barnes is tied for third with fellow American Ryan Moore at 10-under 132 as PGA Tour regulars are dominating their Asian Tour counterparts at the halfway point.
Carl Pettersson is alone in fifth after a 68 put him at minus-9, while world No. 8 Luke Donald (67) and D.J. Trahan (67) are tied for sixth at 8 under. Kevin Streelman (66), Tom Gillis (66), Rickie Fowler (67), Ernie Els (68), Martin Laird (69), Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (69), Charlie Wi (70) and Brian Davis (70) are all at 7 under.