Last-minute entry Overton leads at CIMB Asia Pacific Classic


KUALA LUMPUR: American golfer Jeff Overton only found out over the weekend that he got into the field for the US$6.1mil CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia after David Duval decided not to make the trip.

Overton arrived here but not his clubs and as a result, did not get a practice round under his belt.

But it looked like nothing would bother the last entry for the field as he charged to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage with a spectacular nine-under 62 at Mines Resort and Golf Club.

Overton set a new course record with his marvelous effort and was joined by Swede Fredrik Jacobson, who carded a seven-under 64, to complete 36 holes at 13-under 129.

American Bo Van Pelt missed a 12-foot birdie try at the last but his seven-under 64 puts him in third place at 12-under 130.

Overton, who is winless on the PGA Tour, started superbly with three straight birdies and turned in 30 with two more birdies on the fifth and eighth.

The highlight on his back nine was the eagle on 15th.

He was certainly happy with his play, but the sun-burnt American would probably be just happy to be out on the course.

"I flew seven, eight hours to London, then I flew on Malaysian Air (Malaysia Airlines), some of the best first-class seating I’ve ever seen in my life. It was awesome. The seats went all the way back.

"It was so easy. I got here, and the clubs didn’t make it. I don’t know what happened.

"So I went to the pro-am Wednesday morning and said, 'What should I do? Should I play it, or give my place to an alternate?' " he said.

Overton was told that there were not enough players in the field to fill the slot.

"Luckily the clubs came just in time for the tournament," he said.

Overton could not make it here last year due to a wrist injury from the Ryder Cup.

"I really wanted to get a sponsor’s invite this year. I was on the list, but you’ve got to give it to a past No. 1 player in the world David Duval.

"For some reason, he decided he couldn’t make it or something.

"I was about two-and-a-half hours from Orlando, in a place I’ve been renting down in West Palm Beach (Florida).

"I got a call at about 10:15 from my agent. He’s like, "Hey, answer your phone. I need to get a hold of you. You just got into Malaysia if you want to go.

"I’ve been playing well and I’m just really excited about coming here," said Overton, whose effort is also his lowest in the PGA Tour.

He attributed it to new equipment in the bag.

"A couple of weeks ago, I changed golf clubs. I got some new irons in the bag, some new Cleveland forged blades that just came out about a month ago.

"My golf 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 struggling with my putter.

"Today, everything just clicked. 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," he added.

After opening with a bogey, Jacobson, winner of the Hong Kong Open in 2002, was rock solid as he clutched eight birdies on the card.

"I made a few nice putts today. These last few days, the 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.

Overnight leader Robert Allenby of Australia doube-bogeyed on the ninth hole and eventually slipped to ninth with a one-over 72 on a total of seven-under 135.

Second round scores

129: Jeff Overton (US) 67-62, Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 65-64;

130: Bo Van Pelt (US) 66-64;

133: Mark Wilson (US) 67-66, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 64-69, Stewart Cink (US) 67-66, Jimmy Walker (US) 66-67;

134: Cameron Tringale (US) 66-68;

135: Jerry Kelly (US) 69-66, Camilo Villegas (Col) 69-66, Carl Pettersson (Swe) 68-67, Robert Allenby (Aus) 63-72;

136: Danny Chia (Mas) 71-65, Vijay Singh (Fij) 72-64, Chris Kirk (US) 71-65, Ryan Palmer (US) 71-65, Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha) 70-66;

137: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 70-67, Jason Dufner (US) 70-67, Spencer Levin (US) 70-67, Jonathan Byrd (US) 69-68, Ben Crane (US) 69-68, John Senden (US) 67-70, Kyle Stanley (US) 68-69;

138: Rory Sabbatini (Rsa) 68-70, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 69-69, Tommy Gainey (US) 68-70;

139: Brandt Snedeker (US) 71-68, Stuart Appleby (Aus) 72-67, Ryan Moore (US) 71-68, D.A. Points (US) 71-68, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 68-71, Scott Stallings (US) 67-72, Brendon De Jonge (Zim) 68-71;

140: Chez Reavie (US) 69-71, Jbe Kruger (Rsa) 70-70, Ricky Barnes (US) 69-71;

141: Siddikur Rahman (Ban) 68-73, Lucas Glover (US) 71-70;

142: Charley Hoffman (US) 69-73, Tetsuji Hiratsuka (Jpn) 70-72, Chan Yih-shin (Tpe) 72-70, Brian Davis (Eng) 71-71;

144: David Gleeson (Aus) 73-71, Shaaban Hussin (Mas) 72-72;

146: Angel Cabrera (Arg) 73-73, S.S.P. Chowrasia (Ind) 75-71;

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