American Pat Perez stroked a 65 on Friday, adding to his Thursday 66 to lead the CIMB Classic by one stroke. The tournament was delayed four hours by heavy rain, but Perez was in favor of the conditions.
I don’t want sunshine at all. It’s too hot, way too hot,” Perez said. “I like it just the way it is right now, perfect. Cloudy, no wind.
He has a 1-shot lead over fellow American Xander Schauffele, who highlighted the day’s action with a long-distance eagle on No 3.
Two-time defending champion Justin Thomas will need a miracle to make it three in a row, following up his Thursday 70 with a Friday 71. A double-bogey on the 12th dropped him 10 shots behind Perez.
Perez (-13) and Schauffele (-12) are the only two golfers at least 10 strokes under par. Day 1 leader Cameron Smith, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Korea’s Sung-hoon Kang are all tied for third at 9-under.
The 41-year-old Perez burned up the course on Friday, birdying four straight holes between 2 and 6 and finishing the front nine at 6-under. His lone blemish was a bogey on No. 12.
Thomas is tied for 33rd at 3-under. He was 1-under at the turn, but 1-over through 14. He birdied 16 and 17 to reach 1-under for the day.