October 26, 2013
CIMB Bank Golf Classics 2012: Garrigus takes the lead but Tiger lurks
By John Pye — AP Sports Writer
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Robert Garrigus shot a 7-under-par 64 to take a two-stroke lead ahead of Jbe’ Kruger, who upstaged Tiger Woods in their second-round pairing at the CIMB Classic on Friday.
Garrigus at the 18th Tee, Mines Golf Resort, Kuala Lumpur
Garrigus was at 14-under 128 after two rounds. After starting the day in second spot at 7 under, the American golfer got as low as 15 under before leaving his par putt just short on the 18th hole for his only bogey of the round.
Kruger (left), playing his first competitive round with Woods, pumped his right arm after each of his eight birdies in a round that contained only one bogey amid the soggy conditions at the Mines Resort and Golf Club. He had a 64 and was 12 under, two shots clear of Australia’s Greg Chalmers (69) and overnight leader Troy Matteson, who followed his opening 63 with 69.
Woods carded a 67 and was tied for fifth at 9 under with Kevin Na (66) and Zimbabwe’s Brendon De Jonge (65).
While Woods is predicting a total of better than 20 under to win the $6.1 million tournament, Garrigus is setting his sights much higher.
“I’m going to try to get to 30 if I can, if that’s possible,” he said, adding that in his first tournament of the year he was 6 over after eight holes and played the next 54 holes at 32-under par. “So I can do it. I just need to do it on the weekend when it counts.
“No disrespect to anybody on the PGA Tour, they’re all great players, but I feel like I can beat anybody in the world.”
Kruger only slipped up once, at the 12th, and took no chances on the 18th when he decided to putt from off the green instead of using his pitching wedge to have a better shot at a par.
The South African had a double-bogey on 18 in the opening round after getting into contention at 7 under at the 17th.
“I think playing with (Woods) definitely made me concentrate a bit harder,” Kruger said. “That is one thing I’ve been lacking the last couple of months, so I think I want to play with him every day.”
It was hot and humid for the second consecutive day and, with the course still damp after a heavy tropical storm the previous evening, the PGA Tour allowed preferred lies so that players could lift, clean and place muddy balls in the closely mown areas through the green.
Garrigus didn’t encounter any serious problems with the course or conditions, with a run of four consecutive birdies from the seventh hole and another four from the 12th to the 17th holes. He has one win on the tour, in 2010, and had seven top-10 finishes this year in a breakthrough season.
Woods narrowly missed with his putter for the second straight day, but this time he said it was because he wasn’t hitting his irons into the right spots, leaving him with tough downhill, across-the-green putts.
Despite being five shots off the lead, he’s confident he can make up the ground.”I feel good about it,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out there and make a bunch of birdies. The golf course can be had, especially if we have ball in hand like we did today.It’s wet. It’s a little bit muddy … (but) it can be had out there. I just have to get after it tomorrow, where at least I have a chance going into Sunday.”
Both bogeys in Woods’ round followed wayward tee shots. At the fourth he sliced right and landed near four parked vans and a row of public toilets, then hit his second shot into a muddy bank near the left front of the green. He had a tough lie where it sloped down to a lake, and asked for a rules official to examine it before chipping on in a spray of dirt.
At the 12th, he hit into a thick, grassy bank on the right of the fairway, got on to the green in three and stared blankly as his par putt shaved the outside of the cup.
In between was a classic chip from off the green at the seventh that made him smile for the first time in his round. “That was nice! It looked like I was going to go the other way,” he said. “I jerked a nine iron over to the left – you shouldn’t miss a green with a nine iron that bad – but I hit a really good shot and it trickled in like a putt, which was nice.”
Woods’ group is one shot ahead of three Americans at 7 under, including 2010 champion Ben Crane, 2011 runner-up Jeff Overton and Brian Harman.
South Africa’s Trevor Immelman had the low round of the day with a 63 to move into a share of 11th place with defending champion Bo Van Pelt. Nick Watney improved by six strokes in his second round by firing a 65 to move to 6 under, but Justin Dufner was 2 over in his second round, 12 strokes behind.