KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Bernd Wiesberger put on a clinic with his irons to lead Danny Willett by one stroke halfway through the Maybank Championship on Friday.
Wiesberger has been on a hot streak, and the Austrian came to life at Saujana club from the par-4 seventh hole to notch nine consecutive birdies of his 11 overall.
That haul stands as the longest birdie run of the year, despite two bogeys.
The three-time European Tour winner acknowledged his feat after carding a 9-under 63 in tropical heat.
"It felt kind of natural. I hit pretty good shots and really only holed two long ones which were the last birdie of the nine on 15 and about 20-footer on 11," Wiesberger said.
"Apart from that, I just hit them pretty close and felt like I had a good idea of what the ball was going to do on the green today, which was nice."
Wiesberger finished tied for second at the British Masters in October, and followed that with three consecutive fourth-place finishes at the Turkish Airlines Open, the World Tour Championship, and Abu Dhabi Championship.
Willett finished the second round with a 67.
"I holed a couple of nice putts when I needed to. I missed a couple of good chances, too, but if someone told me at the start of the day, '5 under,' I would have bitten their hand off," the Masters champion said.
David Lipsky of the U.S. (67) and the surprising Michael Lorenzo-Vera of France (65) finished the day tied for third, three shots behind Wiesberger.
Defending champion Marcus Fraser missed the cut by one shot following a 1-over 73, which included two consecutive bogeys on the back nine. The cut was at 2 under overall.