Course record puts Overton in front

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Jeff Overton has fired a course record 9-under 62 in Friday’s 2nd round to take a share of the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic lead.

Jeff Overton fired a new course record and career lowest 9-under 62 in Friday’s second round of the US$6.1 million CIMB Asia Pacific Classic at the Mines Resort and Golf Club in Malaysia to grab a share of the halfway lead with Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson.

Jacobson, coming off a maiden victory on the US PGA Tour this year, posted a 64 in an event unusually being co-sponsored by both the US PGA and the Asian Tours.

So too did a second American, Bo Van Pelt, whose 64 put him just one shot behind the leaders heading into the weekend.

In a leaderboard dominated by members of the US PGA Tour, Malaysia’s Danny Chia raised some local cheers with a solid 65 to move into a tie for 13th place, some seven shots off the pace.

He and Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil, who carded a 66, lead the Asian challenge.

The 28-year-old Overton, who was a member of the US Ryder Cup team last year, only arrived to play in the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic on Tuesday evening after being called in to replace David Duval in the field.

Then, sporting a new set of Cleveland irons, which, in truth, caused him some anxiety as they had arrived in Malaysia a day late, the amiable Overton was nevertheless able to step up and, in imperious form, shoot seven birdies and a glorious eagle on the par four 15th hole to ltake a share of the halfway lead with Jacobson with a 13-under-par 129 total.

Clearly delighted. he told the media afterwards: “A couple of weeks ago, I changed clubs and my golf has just improved so much.

“I finished sixth basically the first week I used them, at the McGladrey Classic. I was hitting it really good but kind of struggled with my putter. Today, everything just clicked. I think I made one putt outside eight feet. I was hitting everything stone cold, and it was a lot of fun,” Overton continued.

“This golf course is so much fun to play. It’s really challenging. If you’re hitting it great, you can have scoring opportunities. I’m just having a blast.”

Overton started superbly with three straight birdies to turn in 30 after two more birdies on five and eight. The highlight on his back nine was the eagle on 15 when he crushed a drive to within six feet of the pin.

“I watched Mark Wilson hit it right at the stick, and I’m like, wow, this is a great little hole. Maybe I can hit my driver, too. I just hit it right at the pin. It came off just perfect, laying there on the front of the green and it rolled up there to six feet for eagle,” Overton recalled.

After opening with a bogey, Jacobson, a former winner of the Hong Kong Open, was rock solid as he took advantage of his straight-hitting game to pepper the pins at the Mines Resort amid come out richly rewarded with eight birdies.

“These last few days, my driving has been setting up a lot of opportunities. I’ve been driving it well and on this course, if you drive it on the fairways, it’s not overly long and it gives you opportunities,” said the 37-year-old Swede, winner of the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour this year.

He made some good par saves, including one on 18 when he splashed out from the greenside trap to a foot.

“Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the rough, in the bunker, in different lies. Like in the backyard, I would try to chip over a stone wall. I played a lot of weird shots through my youth and I think that by challenging myself that way, I have learnt a lot of different shots which come in useful on the golf course,” he said.

THE TOP 10 LEADERBOARD

(USA unless stated, par 71)

129 – Jeff Overton 67-62, Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 65-64.
130 – Bo Van Pelt 66-64.
133 – Mark Wilson 67-66, Stewart Cink 67-66, Jimmy Walker 66-67, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 64-69.
134 – Cameron Tringale 66-68.
135 – Camilo Villegas (Col) 69-66, Jerry Kelly 69-66, Carl Pettersson (Swe) 68-67, Robert Allenby (Aus) 63-72.

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