Lee Westwood surged four shots clear at the halfway stage of the European Tour’s Malaysian Open yesterday after an eventful second round, where Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal was forced to dive into a lake to avoid a swarm of hornets.
The former world No. 1 Englishman took his two-day total to 13-under after a six-under-par 66 and put himself in prime position to end an almost two-year trophy drought.
Filipino Antonio Lascuna and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts were his nearest challengers at nine-under.
Westwood has been without a win since claiming the 2012 Nordea Masters in Sweden and the trophyless spell has seen his world ranking slip to 36.
Westwood matched his eight-birdie opening round yesterday, but was pulled back by a double-bogey on the 11th hole at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club with his tee-shot ending in the water.
The water proved a haven for Spain’s Larrazabal, though, as he encountered the “scariest” moment of his career when he had to dive into a lake after being attacked by hornets on the fifth hole.
“I hit my tee shot just right of the bunker and chipped it out quite well,” Larrazabal, 30, told reporters. “So I’m walking along and suddenly I felt something on my nose. I swatted it away and suddenly... they were not bees, they were three times the size of bees. They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time.”
“I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake. So I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped into the lake. It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I’ve never been so scared,” Larrazabal said.
Larrazabal, who was stung about 20 times, returned to the course after a couple of injections and a change of shirt, and birdied the par-five hole — his 14th.
“The referees and a doctor took me aside and gave me a couple of injections and told me to relax,” he said. “After the injections I felt a lot better and could continue. Without the help of the referees I couldn’t have finished the round, because I was in no state to play golf.”
Lascuna, 43, had a far more pleasurable day in the Kuala Lumpur heat as he set the early clubhouse target in the US$2.75 million Asian Tour co-sanctioned event with a seven-under-par 65 in the morning. His round consisted of eight birdies and a lone bogey.
Belgian Colsaerts, who was a stroke back from Westwood after the opening round, gained four shots on the front nine, but suffered a cold putter on the back during a round of three-under-par 69.
All the Taiwanese players ended below the projected cut, with Yeh Wei-tze top-scoring with a one-over 73 yesterday for a two-over total. He was followed by Lu Wei-chih with a seven-over total of 151 and Tsai Chih-huang with a 16-over total.
Additional reporting by staff writer