Nine birdies in a row for Bernd Wiesberger as Niall Turner slips back
Paul Dunne misses the cut in Kuala Lumpur as Austrian holds the second round lead
Bernd Wiesberger of Austria plays a shot during day two of the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Wiesberger carded a second round of 63 at Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur to reach halfway at 12 under par, with Willett 11 under after adding a 67 to his opening 66.
Ireland’s Niall Turner followed up on Thursday’s impressive 68 with a one under par 71, leaving him five under par overall and thus falling down to 19th place. In a mixed round for the 33-year-old Turner bogeyed the 12th, 16th and 17th holes, with four birdies coming either side.
Overnight leader Marc Warren is six shots off the pace after dropping six shots in his last six holes, including a triple-bogey seven on the ninth.
Wiesberger was level par for his round after six holes but birdied the next three to reach the turn in 33 and followed that with six more on the back nine, the longest coming from around 25 feet on the 15th.
The world number 38 narrowly failed to make it 10 gains in succession on the 16th before dropping a shot on the 17th, but bounced back with another birdie on the 18th.
The European Tour record for birdies in succession is eight, but Wiesberger’s effort will not earn him a place in the record books due to the preferred lies in operation.
“I felt a bit beside myself to be honest,” Wiesberger said.
“I felt like I was on a good run and I felt comfortable pretty much the whole day after my bogey on four.
“I hit really good shots and I just felt calm out there. It felt kind of natural. I hit pretty good shots and really only holed two long ones which were the last birdie of the nine on 15 and about a 20-footer on 11.
“Apart from that I just hit them pretty close and felt like I had a good idea of what the ball was going to do on the green today again which was nice.
“It was nice to birdie the last. I felt like it was a good finish to what was a great round. I obviously felt a bit disappointed on 16 and 17 to let it slip a bit, but all in all it was amazing out there and really good fun. The guys kept me at ease and let me just do my thing and it was good chemistry out there.”
Willett, who missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and was 54th in Dubai this season, kept Wiesberger firmly in his sights with five birdies in his last 10 holes.
“I played really well yesterday and it was a little bit scrappy today, but there was a storm brewing a few hours ago and the wind was flicking around so it was tough to get the club right,” Willett said.
“I holed a couple of nice putts when I needed to. I missed a couple of good chances too, but if someone told me at the start of the day (you will post) five under, I would have bitten their hand off.
“The last few weeks I’ve been trying to hit a fade and I’ve been hitting them straight left and getting in all sorts of problems, so everything has come on nicely. But I’ve been working hard so it’s nice to do it on the course.”
Warren held a three-shot lead following an opening 63 with three birdies in his first 12 holes, but bogeyed the fourth, fifth and seventh before recording a triple-bogey seven on the ninth.
Greystones native Paul Dunne missed the cut after a second round 71 left him one under overall, unable to build on an eagle on the par 5 eighth, he hit two bogeys on the back nine.