Anirban Lahiri fought well to go four-under for his last 14 holes after being four-over for first four, to end at tied 53rd at the midway stage of the USD 7 million CIMB Classic.
Lahiri had to dig deep to haul himself up from the hole he put himself in after dropping a bogey and two double bogeys within his first four holes in the second round. But the 27-year-old, currently second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, ended with an even-par 72. (Also read: Lahiri hoping for memorable debut at World Golf Championships)
It looked far better than what the start suggested. He is now two-over and tied 53rd at the midway stage of the event co-sanctioned by the Asian and PGA Tours.
"It was quite a horrendous start by me. Very disappointed to get into that situation at the start but I think I fought back well. You know I'm going to have to really play my best golf the next two days if I want to make an impact in this tournament. But I don't think I'm too far away.
"I think the last 15 odd holes or 12 holes that I played were pretty solid. I could have actually made a few more birdies. Just need to find that rhythm for the next 36 and not have any loose holes," said Lahiri.
The Indian golfer confessed that he made a bad club selection at the start.
"I just made a bad clubbing decision on 11, and on 12 (after starting from 10th) and I got unlucky on Thursday and got a little unlucky Friday as well. I hit shots bad enough to get into a bad spot, and then I just never made my six-footers for par or bogey. So that has been an issue this week, so hopefully I get my speeds right over the next two days," he said.
With no cut this week, Lahiri still has a chance to retrieve himself.
"I've got everything to play for. I am playing well. I believe that I'm playing really well, and I need to just put it together for 36 holes. I've got to start doing more and thinking less on the course."
Meanwhile, American Bill Hurley, a US navy officer on board a destroyer till recently, moved into a two-shot lead after a second straight five-under-par 67 to put him in pole position for a maiden PGA Tour victory.
The 32-year-old Hurley fired six birdies for an outward 30 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club before a double bogey on two and another birdie on seven saw him take his place atop the leaderboard on 10-under-par 134.
Another American Kevin Streelman produced a bogey-free 68 for second place while Korea's Noh Seung-yul, the youngest Asian Tour number one when he won the Order of Merit in 2010, was amongst those chasing in tied third position including defending champion Ryan Moore (69) and Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood of England, who shot a hole-in-one en route to the day's low of 65, and Sergio Garcia of Spain (68).
Thailand's Prom Meesawat battled to a 71 for tied 12th place on 139, five off the pace, along with Filipino Angelo Que who clawed from being three over for the day to settle for a 72.
The 23-year-old Noh, who won the Malaysian Open at this week's venue four years ago, will be chasing a third Asian Tour title and second PGA TOUR victory after six birdies against three bogeys pushed him into contention.
He has taken full advantage of the par fives at KLGCC so far, getting to six under on those holes in the last two days.
Westwood hit the shot of the day with a rescue for his first ever ace on the PGA TOUR at the par three 11th hole as he charged into contention at the same venue which he won the Malaysian Open in April.
Westwood's playing partner Garcia rolled in six birdies against a lone bogey to stay within three shots of the lead. Using a conventional putting grip as opposed to his "claw" grip, the Spaniard is expected to make his move on the leader over the weekend.