KUALA LUMPUR: V. Khavish Varman kept the home flag flying high on Day Two of the Malaysian Open Golf Championship when he grabbed a share of the lead with Australian Kevin Yuan at 13-under 129 today.

The 23-year-old Khavish carded a second-round score of six-under 65 while Kevin blazed through the course with a scorching seven-under 64 at The Mines Resort & Golf Club, Seri Kembangan here on a day Gavin Kyle Green, who was among the frontrunners yesterday, blew up with a five-over 76 to miss the cut with a two-day total of two-under 140.

Khavish was delighted with his six birdies, three each on the front and back nines.

“My round went according to plan... wasn’t the easiest of rounds because the wind was swirling a little bit today and I was struggling with some numbers. I stayed patient and was trying to birdie one every three holes and I did exactly that. So, I am pretty pleased with myself.

“It feels great to be in contention, obviously being a Malaysian and to win your National Open is like winning a Major for me. So, I am very excited for the weekend,” he told reporters.

But there is still a long way to go, especially with a big group lurking within striking distance.

The closest, just one stroke behind, is American John Catlin, who carded a second straight six-under 65 for a 12-under 130 total.

Four golfers are bunched two strokes behind at 11-under 131 while another four, including Malaysian Ervin Chang and overnight joint leader Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand, are just three strokes adrift of the leaders at 10-under 132.

The leaderboard is so tight that six golfers, including overnight joint leader Veer Ahlawat of India, are just four strokes behind at nine-under 133 while 11 others are bunched together at eight-under 134.

One of the surprises of the day must be Ervin, who shot a spectacular nine-under 62 that contained two eagles on the 11th and 15th holes and six birdies to go with a lone bogey to be tied for seventh spot.

“One of my main focus today was to hit a lot of the greens and give myself a lot of birdie opportunities. I did that today and made the most of them as well.

“Tomorrow, my goal will be to maintain my momentum and continue to give myself more opportunities,” said Ervin.

The cut-off mark was set at five-under 137, with 69 golfers out of 150 set to battle it out over the weekend, including Malaysia’s Jeremiah Kim Leunkwang, who carded a five-under 137 to be joint 50th. -Bernama

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