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Westwood maintains lead at Malaysian Open

Posted on Apr 18 2014 | IANS

Kuala Lumpur, April 18 : English golfer Lee Westwood set his sights on ending a two-year title drought by shooting a dazzling six-under-par 66 to take a commanding four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Maybank Malaysian Open Friday.

The Englishman, winner of the event in 1997, tightened his grip in the USD 2.75 million championship with eight birdies for a 13-under-par 131 total to lead from Filipino Antonio Lascuna, who carded the day's low score of 65, and Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, who fired a 69.

Westwood, fresh from a seventh place finish at the Masters Tournament, took full advantage of his sharp-shooting approach shots on the front nine where he sank five birdies from inside four feet.

He switched to cruise mode with another birdie on 10 but dropped two shots on the difficult par three 11th hole when his tee shot found the drink.

Two more birdies on 14 and 16 put him back in prime position at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

"It was solid stuff. I got a bit unlucky at the 11th - the wind just gusted on me and it came up short into the water. But I rallied well and ended up shooting 66," said Westwood, whose last victory was at the 2012 Nordea Masters in Sweden.

A winner of 12 titles in the region, the Asian specialist has enjoyed a welcome return to form after starting work with new swing coach Mike Walker recently and he has been pleased with his form.

"I saw an immediate improvement on the range but at first it was difficult to take it onto the golf course. But the last few weeks I've managed to do so. We didn't do anything drastic. We are just trying to get it in a different position on the backswing to give me a better angle of attack on the way down," he explained.

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