Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (SportsNetwork.com) - Lee Westwood carded a 6-under 66 on Friday to extend his lead to four strokes at the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Westwood, who won this event in 1997 when it was a part of the co-sanctioning Asian Tour, finished 36 holes at 13-under-par 131. He is seeking his 23rd victory on the European Tour, but first since the 2012 Nordea Masters.
"I played well in Houston, last week at the Masters I started playing a lot better and this week I am gradually grinding it back in," said Westwood. "I have always played well in Asia, my strike rate is really good. It must be the heat or rice or something, I can't put my finger on it."
Antonio Lascuna fired the low round of the day at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club with a 7-under 65 to vault into a share of second place with Nicolas Colsaerts (69) at 9-under 135.
Danny Willett (66) is alone in fourth at minus-8, while Julien Quesne (69), Andy Sullivan (67) and Eduardo Da le Riva (68) are tied for fifth at 7-under.
Westwood held a one-stroke lead at the end of the first round and quickly added to his advantage with birdies on two of his first three holes.
He added back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth to move to 11-under, and followed a pair of pars with another set of gains at the ninth and 10th to reach minus-13.
He then found the water off the tee at the par-3 11th en route to a double- bogey, but got those strokes back with birdies at the 14th and 16th to again reach 13-under.
"I got a little unlucky at 11 I thought, it was one of the best shots I hit all day and the wind just gusted on me and it came up short in the water," said Westwood. "But I rallied after that and ended up shooting 66."
Lascuna raced out of the gate with three birdies over his first four holes and stayed hot with back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh to jump to 7- under at the turn. He added another birdie at the 10th and after trading a bogey for a birdie from the 13th, Lascuna birdied the 17th to reach 9-under.
Colsaerts did all of his scoring on the front nine, recording birdies at the third, fourth, fifth and seventh to move to 10-under. He then surrounded a bogey at the 16th with eight pars during an inward 37 to also end at minus-9.
In a strange turn of events on the course Friday, Pablo Larrazabal was attacked by a swarm of hornets on the fifth hole, his 14th. He escaped the attack by jumping into a nearby water hazard and received medical treatment for multiple stings.
"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," Larrazabal said of the incident. "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."
He was seemingly unfazed by the attack, though, as he went on the birdie the fifth and added another birdie at the seventh to close out his 4-under 68. He is currently tied for 25th place at 2-under-par 142.
NOTES: The first round was completed on Friday morning after a weather delay led to a suspension of play on Thursday ... Twelve of Westwood's 40 career victories have come in Asia ... Lascuna is playing in just his second event of the season. He tied for 57th place at the Hong Kong Open ... Colsaerts' best finish this season was a tie for 19th place at the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open. He had missed two cuts and withdrawn from the Shell Houston Open in his last three starts.