A buzz in Kuala Lumpur
Westwood in hot form as Larrazabal dives into a lake to escape angry hornets
Lee Westwood surged four shots clear at the halfway stage of the European Tour's Maybank 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, 40, has been without a win since claiming the 2012 Nordea Masters in Sweden and the trophy-less spell has seen his world ranking slip to 36.
But, fresh from finishing seventh at last week's US Masters, the winner of the event in 1997 tightened his grip on the US$2.75 million championship with eight birdies.
He was pulled back by a double-bogey on the 11th hole at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, when his tee-shot ended in the water.
"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.
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.
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, said later.
"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, who was stung around 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 posting a four-under 68 to be tied on 25th on two under.
"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 with a 65.
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 69.
“It looks like I’ll be playing the weekend, so tomorrow it will be very, very scary to play that hole. I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but hopefully I will play it as quickly as I can.”
— Pablo Larrazabal, who was forced to dive into a lake after being attacked by a swarm of hornets at the fifth hole at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club
●131: Lee Westwood 65-66
●135: Antonio Lascuna 70-65, Nicolas Colsaerts 66-69
● 136: Danny Willett 70-66
●137: Julien Quesne 68-69, Andy Sullivan 70-67, Eduardo de la Riva 69-68
●138: Ricardo Santos 67-71, Masahiro Kawamura 68-70
●139: Garth mulroy 71-68, Scott Jamieson 68-71, Jbe Kruger 68-71
●140: Steve Lewton 71-69, Louis Oosthuizen 72-68, Scott Hend 70-70, Michael Hoey 67-73, Bernd Wiesberger 69-71