2018 CIMB Classic: Marc Leishman, Gary Woodland flirt with 60 to take co-lead after Round 2
Justin Thomas is hanging tough as well as the second event of the season rolls on
It took Gary Woodland and Marc Leishman all of 123 strokes to play TPC Kuala Lumpur on Friday in the second round of the CIMB Classic. Woodland dropped a 61, Leishman ripped off a 62 and only one other player broke 65 on the day. Both players both touched 14 under and share the lead going into the weekend.
Woodland and Leishman pointed to the number of putts they both holed on Day 2 from Kuala Lumpur.
"I've been playing good," Woodland said. "It's nice to have two weeks off after the Tour Championship to regroup to get ready for this week. The golf course is phenomenal, they did an unbelievable job, it's in perfect shape. It's nice to play the ball down this week. I mean I just played solid just like I did yesterday, I just made more putts. Hit the ball in the fairway. I think I hit 17 greens, which obviously is a big deal, but I made some putts, too, which is nice."
Woodland has now hit 31 of 36 greens in regulation, which is an astonishing number, even on an easy golf course. He also hasn't made a bogey all week. Leishman, on the other hand, has just one, which means that between the two golfers they've made 29 birdies and one bogey. That's ... pretty good.
"The focus is just keep doing what I'm doing," Leishman said after his 62. "Hopefully I can drive it like I did today the next two days and then keep rolling the putts in. Made most of the putts that you should make today, didn't hole any really long ones, but it was ... just sort of did what you should do and it added up to a 62, so happy with the second round."
Sounds easy, even if it isn't. Those two will take a one-stroke lead over Shubhankar Sharma (more on him below!) and Paul Casey going into the third round on Saturday in Malaysia.
Here are three more takeaways from Round 2 of the CIMB Classic.
1. Shubhankar, back: My dude Shubhankar Sharma shot a 36 on his front nine on Thursday in Round 1, but he followed that with consecutive nine-hole scores of 31, 31 and 33. After placing in the top 10 in back to back events earlier this year -- the WGC-Mexico Championship and Hero Indian Open -- Sharma has found something over the first two days in Malaysia and is 13 under after Friday's round.
"I just feel like all the players playing at this level are at a very high level," said the 22-year-old Indian star. "On a course like this when they get going, they will go really low ... When I'm feeling it and I'm hitting it good, I pretty much go at every pin and I feel like I can make all the putts. I would just say that I did get into a zone today, especially on that front nine, which is my back nine, I was pretty much going at all the pins."
2. J.T.'s swing: It doesn't get talked about in the current pantheon, but I really love Justin Thomas' swing. It's smooth, repeatable and unique. Watch the 0:34 mark here, and tell me that's not a fabulous move. Thomas, by the way, shot a 69 and is 9 under, five back of the leaders.
3. Nick Watney again at the CIMB? Watney beat Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus by a stroke at this event back in 2012. Since that win he has just 11 top 10s and no victories. Watney has struggled with injury and wandered a little bit, but he had a solid 2017-18 season and comes into this week off his best year in the last three. He would fit the profile for a winner here, though, as two of the next five champs at the CIMB following Watney were repeat winners. Watney is 11 under and T8 after a 66-67 start.
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