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Lucas Herbert two from lead at Maybank Championship

Herbert is once again contending on European Tour (Photo: Henry Peters)
Australian Lucas Herbert is just two shots from the lead of Thomas Pieters after 36 holes of the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur, the Victorian’s second consecutive round of 69 leaving him as the best placed of the large Australian contingent as the jointly sanctioned heads into the weekend.

Herbert, playing with full European Tour status in 2019 after an outstanding season in 2019 where he secured his European Tour card via his performances when playing on invite, is in a share of 5th place and one ahead of fellow Australians Scott Hend and Zach Murray.

First round leader Marcus Fraser slipped backwards with a round of 77 to be in now 30th place while Min Woo Lee and Terry Pilkadaris made the cut on the number.

Other than a top ten in Dubai two months ago, Herbert has been unable to find the form that saw him just a feature of so many events throughout his 2018 season and has missed three of his last four cuts, but he is well placed to contend over the final 36 holes.

Hend too has struggled a little in recent weeks but back in one of his favourite playing regions in Asia, where he has won nine titles, he has again shone with a round of 70 to be tied in 11th place, a position he shares with, amongst others, the recently crowned New Zealand Open Champion Zach Murray.

New Zealander Ryan Fox birdied his final two holes to also make the cut on the number.

The leader Thomas Pieters is generally played well in 2019 despite a missed cut in Qatar a  month ago and today moved into the lead with a round of 69 to be one ahead of Spain’s Elvira Nachos and Indonesia’s Danny Masrin, an invite into the event.

Pieters is happy to be leading but was frustrated with his day overall.

“I struggled off the tee early on, at the end it was a lot better, said the Belgian. “It didn't feel like a good day to me, I made the best of what I had. I gave myself a lot of chances but I couldn't seem to get the ball in the hole.”

The last of Pieters three European Tour victories came in 2016 when successful at the Made in Denmark even

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