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WESTWOOD STALKS UNHERALDED CLUBHOUSE LEADERS......

Jakarta, April 22: Shaaban Hussin and Park Hyun-bin took the surprise clubhouse lead at the Indonesian Masters as Lee Westwood’s charge came to a halt when the second round was suspended due to lightning on Friday.

The world number two was nine-under in the US$750,000 and will have to return at 6.30am local time on Saturday to finish his remaining two holes at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.

Shaaban of Malaysia and Korean Park fired a 67 and 68 respectively to take the clubhouse lead on nine-under-par 135 in the inaugural US$750,000 Asian Tour event.

Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand shot a 68 to lie in third position on 134 while countrymen Pariya Junhasavasdikul, who shot the best round of the week so far with a superb 65, was a stroke back with compatriot Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Englishman Simon Griffiths.

Round two was suspended due to lightning threat at 4.25pm local time and will resume at 6.30am on Saturday. A total of 47 players have yet to complete their rounds.

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee was on eight-under through 16 holes before play was suspended. His playing partner and overnight leader Siddikur struggled to emulate yesterday’s solid round as he was five-under.

Westwood, who reverted to the conventional putter from the belly putter today, birdied his opening four holes before making the turn in 32. He added a birdie and bogey on holes 12 and 13 respectively and was on the charge with another birdie on 16 before play was suspended.

“Obviously I’m disappointed because I had two more holes to play. I’m still in contention and have to see how things go in the next two days,” said Westwood.

He has the opportunity to regain the world number one position this week if he wins and if Luke Donald does not in the United States.

Shaaban, a former Malaysian amateur number one, didn’t hit a single par in his first nine. He got off to a bogey start but rallied with four straight birdies before adding two birdies against as many bogeys.

He returned with a blemish free back nine highlighted by a monster 20 feet birdie putt on 12 before sinking a crucial birdie on the last from seven feet for a 67. His total of 135 equalled his best two-day score at the 2009 Brunei Open.

“I had a bogey on my first hole and I never gave up from there. I tried to come back from that blemish and returned with four straight birdies. After the turn, I wanted to focus more and finished strongly which I did,” said the 30-year-old.

He earned his Asian Tour card in 2010 but struggled with consistency where he only posted one top-10 in Cambodia. He is hoping to make amends this week and celebrate the arrival of his son with a victory. 

“I need to maintain my rhythm like how I did today. Everything clicked for me and I’m happy with that. I’ve more reason to celebrate because I welcomed a new son two weeks ago. I’m looking forward to the next two days,” added Shaaban.

Asian Tour rookie Park earned his card at Qualifying School in Thailand earlier this year when he finished in tied 33rd place. He started with nine consecutive pars before bursting into life with birdies on the last three holes.

He admitted that he was lucky with his birdie on the 17th hole after his superb approach shot landed 10 feet from the hole.

“I couldn’t read the greens on the front nine and got a bit lucky on the back. The wind was blowing very strongly on the 17th hole and I thought my approach would land far from the hole. I was very lucky it didn’t!” said the 24-year-old.

Park turned professional five years ago and decided to play on the Asian Tour to elevate his career.

“I like the way the Asian Tour is run and I’m enjoying myself here. I’m also used to the weather because I always practice in Thailand during the winter season in Korea,” said Park, who is looking for his first career victory.

Licensed pilot Pariya bounced back from his opening round 72 with a brilliant 65 highlighted by an eagle where he holed out from 90 feet on the par five 12th hole.

He won his maiden title last year and finished in 12th place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. Despite making all four cuts this year, Pariya has not managed to play his way in contention until this week.

“I haven’t been posting any threats to the leaderboard in my last four tournaments so coming down here to put myself in contention is really good to see. This is a boost of confidence for me,” said Pariya.

Leading second round scores

135 - Shaaban HUSSIN (MAS) 68-67, Hyun-bin PARK (KOR) 67-68.

136 - Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 68-68.

137 - Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 72-65, Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 69-68, Simon GRIFFITHS (ENG) 69-68.

138 - LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 71-67, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-68.

140 - Miles TUNNICLIFF (ENG) 72-68, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 70-70, Scott BARR (AUS) 73-67.

141 - Jason KNUTZON (USA) 70-71.

142 - Adam GROOM (AUS) 75-67, Tim STEWART (AUS) 70-72, Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 72-70, Atthaphon PRATHUMMANEE (THA) 73-69, Rory HIE (INA) 68-74.

Photo - Asian Tour

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