The veteran golfer, ranked the top player in the country, fired a flawless second round eight-under 64 to move a stroke clear of the field on nine-under 135 at the halfway stage of the RM250,000 event that is exclusive to winners on the Tour.
An eagle at the 12th hole and another two birdies before the end, followed four birdies over the first nine and were the telling points of a round that underscored Chia’s good form.
Having closed out last year in fine fashion, which saw him regain his top-ranking among Malaysians in the world standings, Chia said he might have come back with an even lower number today had he “not missed a couple of short putts.
“I hit the ball very well today, which is why I was able to shoot 64. And it could have been even better,” he added, “as I missed a couple of short putts.
“But I’m happy all the same as my approach play was also very good. I hit the ball close many times and just needed to tap-in.
“I also drove the ball very well, which I think was key to playing well today. I missed only one fairway and that really gave me the chance to set-up the birdie chances,” said Chia, who has twice won the opening event of a PGM Tour season (2012 and 2013).
Thailand’s Wisut Artjanawat carded a second round five-under 67 to finish the day one stroke behind Chia on 136, while Singaporean Mardan Mamat had a 68 and was a shot further back on seven-under 137.
Kwanchai Tannin, also of Thailand, signed for a 69, and was joint fourth on five-under 139 with Kemarol Baharin (70), the defending champion.
Meanwhile, Kenneth De Silva (69) and amateur player Gavin Green (70), who won on this course last season, were another two strokes back on three-under 141, while the Malaysian trio of Ben Leong (68), Arie Irawan (69) and Nicholas Fung (71), was joint eighth on 142.
For the first time yet, this event carries world ranking points and also features players who have won on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
Leading Second Round Scores
135 Danny Chia (Mas) 71-64
136 Wisut Artjanawat (Tha) 69-67
137 Mardan Mamat (Sin) 69-68
139 Kwanchai Tannin (Tha) 70-69, Kemarol Baharin (Mas) 69-70
141 Kenneth De Silva (Mas) 72-69, Gavin Green (Mas-Am) 71-70
142 Ben Leong (Mas) 74-68, Arie Irawan (Mas) 73-69, Nicholas Fung (Mas) 71-71
144 James Bowen (US) 74-70, Jhonnel Ababa (Phi) 72-72, Shaaban Hussin (Mas) 71-73
145 Masaru Takahashi (Jpn) 73-72, Sukree Othman (Mas) 73-72, Mitsuhiko Hashizume (Jpn) 71-74