By THE NATION
Suttijet, a one-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner, kept his hopes of winning his first title of the season alive when he traded seven birdies against three bogeys at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Joint first round leaders Mizuno, the defending champion and Atiruj both maintained their position atop the leaderboard following matching 70s to share the lead with Killen (68) on an eight-under-par 136 total.
Local hopeful Amir Nazrin (69) was among the three players tied in fourth-place, just one shot adrift. Maybank ambassador Gavin Green, too, gave the home fans something to cheer about as he bounced back with an improved 68 to move to three-way tie for ninth on 139.
The second round of the US$54,000 tournament, which is the second last stop of the 2019 ADT schedule, was halted at 5.34pm local time due to lightning threat. A total of 28 players will return to complete their second round at 7.30am on Friday.
Suttijet is hoping to translate his recent good form into a second victory on the ADT. His sole triumph was at the PGM Palm Resort Championship in 2016.
Prior to this week, Suttijet had performed well in his last two Asian Tour starts, finishing tied 23rd at the Panasonic Open India and tied 12th at the Sabah Masters.
"I love playing in Malaysia. It feels like playing back home, the grass and green is very similar to the golf courses in Thailand.
"It was also in Malaysia three years that I earned my breakthrough on the ADT. Hopefully I'll be able to end my title drought here too," said Suttijet.
Teeing off from the 10th hole, Suttijet made a modest start when he mixed three birdies with two bogeys to turn in 35.
He then stepped up his game, firing four birdies in the next eight holes before a closing bogey prevented him from securing an outright lead.
"I hit my approach shots very well today and gave myself lots of birdie chances which I converted. The course is narrow, hitting a good first shot is equally crucial too.
"The best birdie I had was at the hole 18. My third shot went past the green a little bit, but I made a good chip in there.
"As for the last hole, I didn't hit it as straight as I wanted before the second shot landed in the bunker. I actually recovered well with my shot rolled quite close to the hole, but I missed the putt.
"But that's no big deal. There's still two days left," he said.
The leading seven players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2019 season.
Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered for all ADT events. The winner will earn a total of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.
Leading second round scores:
136 - Matt Killen (ENG) 68-68, Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA) 66-70, Suttijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 68-68, Shinichi Mizuno (JPN) 66-70
137 - Sarit Suwannarut (THA) 68-69, Amir Nazrin (MAS) 68-69, Ryuichi Oiwa (JPN) 69-68
138 - Kwanchai Tannin (THA) 67-71
139 - Quincy Quek (SGP) 70-69, Seung Park (KOR) 71-68, Gavin Green (MAS) 71-68
140 - Brandon Lau (MAS) 70-70
141 - Hayato Yoshida (JPN) 69-72, Josh Salah (USA) 73-68, Khor Kheng Hwai (MAS) 72-69