Shiv Kapur was the best-placed Indian at tied 13th place after carding two-under 70 in the second round of the US$7 million CIMB Classic on Friday.
The 31-year-old, who holds one Asian Tour title under his belt, carded three birdies against a lone bogey at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club's West course where his two-day aggregate of five-under 139 left him eight shots behind leader Keegan Bradley of the United States.
But with second-placed Ryan Moore lying only four shots ahead of him, Kapur is hopeful that he can enjoy a low-scoring day in the third round on Saturday to give himself a shot of challenging for the US$1.26 million top prize.
"I played steady golf. I played just well, good golf. I could have been a little lower, but I made a few saves as well early in my round. I made a good par putt on the first and the third, so I kind of kept myself in there," said Kapur.
"I played steady but obviously I want to improve on that, but given the conditions and given everything and playing sort of late in the day when the greens are a little bit more chewed up and a little more grainy, I think that's a decent round. But obviously I'd like to do a couple better."
The Indian knows finding the fairways at the challenging West course is key to a low round. He hit 10 fairways today, an improvement from his first round, but did not hit it close enough to the pins to convert the birdie chances.
"If you hit fairways, you give yourself a lot of birdie opportunities. Today they put a lot of flags on the front of the greens. With the greens firming up, it's tougher and tougher to get closer to the front pin," he said.
"When you have to be in the fairway, there is a big premium on hitting fairways here. So as long as you keep it in play, you give yourself a lot of birdie chances. It is the kind of course where you can get hot and go low. It comes down to putting like any other week. So you hit the fairway on a few putts and there are low scores to be had," said Kapur.
With the heat and humidity, Kapur said it was important to conserve his energy for a weekend charge.
"It's really hot, and you have to conserve your energy. I think all parts of my game are in pretty good shape. It's just a question of putting it from third gear into fifth gear, and hopefully I can do that on the weekend," he said.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, currently third on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit, carded a 70 for tied 33rd place while Anirban Lahiri also shot a 70 for equal 42nd position.