By Jugjet Singh
MALAYSIAN Jean Chua, 23, fired a three-under 68 for a two under 140 to lie jointh-11th after the second round of the Sime Darby Malaysia LPGA at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club yesterday.
Amateur Kelly Tan also had a laudable time when she returned two over 73, for a two-over 144 total and is joint 34th in a field of 60.
Jean, a year-old pro fought back from a one-over 72 in the first round with some gritty display, which included an eagle at the par four No 4.
She started from the 10th tee with a birdie, hit a bogey on the third but saved her game with an eagle in the next hole.
Her other birdies were on the 13th and 15th, while her second bogey was on the 11th.
"My round today (yesterday) was pretty solid as I hit it good from the start, and grew in confidence at the back nine," said Jean who studied and played in the United States for the last five years.
On her soaring eagle: "After I birdied the first hole it boosted my confidence, but in came the bogey to drop that shot. I was playing with Laura Davis and Cristie Kerr, which was simply wonderful, so I pushed harder and landed the eagle.
"I hit it on a short par four. I hit a hybrid on to the fairway and had about 84 yards to the pin and I just had a wedge. I was just going to bump it on the green and let it slide down because there was a hill in front.
"But it kind of caught the hill, and it took a high bounce and then hit the pin and dropped right in front of the pin. I guess that it had so much spin in it that it just kept rolling and went in."
The eagle was timely after an uncalled bogey on the fifth: "The timing was just right, as the bogey on a par five almost did my game in."
Sixteen-year-old Kelly Tan did not disappoint her fans when she returned a 73 for a two-over 144.
She had an even par in the first round, but hit a triple bogey on the 11th, and two more bogies on the ninth and 16th.
Starting on the first tee, her three birdies were on the fifth, sixth and 13th.
"On the 11th, I pulled a little to the left and it ended in a bunker. I couldn't pull through so I hit it to the right and had another 60 yards to the pin but I didn't commit to the shot, drafted it to the bunker and it went right inside again.
"I couldn't even see the ball so I took another unplayable shot, went back to where my last shot was and I had a great fifth shot but didn't make the put and had a seven instead."
After her even par, she had more people following her yesterday, and it could even be bigger today in the final round.
"Umm, that's golf. You get another chance tomorrow and I'm going to give it a go. Just go for it, I have nothing to lose..."
The other three Malaysians are entrenched at the bottom. Professional Cindy Lee is 58th on a 22-over 164, while amateurs Aretha Pan is 57th on 20-over 162 and Diana Tham 58th on 22-over 164.