Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Justin Thomas shot a course-record 11-under par 61 on Friday to take a one-shot lead after 36 holes of the 2015 CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And it could have been even better.
The 22-year old birdied the 14th and 15th holes to move to 11-under with three holes remaining, all potential birdie holes. So 59 was definitely within reach.
“I would say after I birdied 14, 15, I knew I just needed to get, I guess, two of my last three,” said Thomas following his round. “And then, I mean, they’re all pretty easy holes. They’re all wedge holes. So it was obviously unfortunate not to get that number (59), but I’m sure I’ll have many more chances in my career.”
Overall, the Louisville, Kentucky native had 9 birdies and an eagle on the par 5, third hole in a bogey-free round on the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club course.
The low round gave Thomas a one-shot lead over Brendan Steele, who managed seven birdies and an eagle of his own in a round of 63. Both Thomas and Steele had opening nines of six-under par 30.
Steele looking for his first tour victory since the 2011 Valero Texas Open said a change in attitude was a key to his low round. “I’m trying to be really patient, and I’m trying to be really positive this week,” said the University of California- Riverside graduate.
Spencer Levin (64 in round two), Hideki Matsuyama (66) and first-round leader Scott Piercy (69) shared third-place at 13-under par 203, with Piercy’s course record 62 lasting just one day.
Cink and Na in Contention
Former Open Champion Stewart Cink was another shot back at 12-under par after a second round 64. Kevin Na, looking for a third consecutive top five finish and Brian Harman were at 11-under, 205.
Defending Champion Needs to Go Low
Two-time defending champion Ryan Moore shot a second round 69 and finds himself seven shots back after 36 holes. The 2013 and 2014 CIMB champion recovered from a early bogey on number two with five birdies on the front side, but had his round derailed with bogies on 10 and 13.
Among other notable players former world number one, Adam Scott had a 66 to sit at 10-under par after two rounds, Canadian David Hearn was at nine-under after a 65 and Keegan Bradley (70) and Patrick Reed (68) were in a group of players at 208 (-8). Pre-tournament favorites Sergio Garcia (-7) and Henrik Stenson (-6) both had second round 67’s but will need to go low on Saturday to get back into the championship picture.
Today’s TV Coverage
In North America, coverage continues on the Golf Channel on Friday night with the broadcast starting at 11:00 pm EDT.