Thomas leads by 2 midway through CIMB


Defending champion Justin Thomas followed his opening-round 64 with a second-round 66 to take a two-stroke lead after 36 holes of the CIMB Classic. Here's how things stand after two rounds in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Leaderboard: Justin Thomas (-14), Anirban Lahiri (-12), Russell Knox (-11), James Hahn (-11), Hideki Matsuyama (-11)

What it means: Thomas is on pace to break the record of 26 under par that he set in winning this event last year. On Friday he was bogey-free, making two birdies on his first nine (the back) and four more after the turn. Lahiri, who also shot 66, went to the 18th tee tied at 14 under, but hit his drive way left, then was unable to reach the green of the par-5 hole in three shots. His chip shot came up well short, he ran his first putt 3 feet past the cup and lipped out the next one, making double bogey. It was the second straight ugly finish for the Indian, as he bogeyed his final two holes in the first round.

Round of the day: Knox shot a 9-under 63, getting better as the round unfolded. He opened with a birdie on the par-4 first, then added circles on both the front-nine par 5s. He birdied the first two holes on the back, parred the next two, then went on a four-birdie run. He was unable to birdie the par-5 closing hole, though.

Best of the rest: Hahn and Matsuyama both shot 64. Hahn made four birdies and a bogey on the front, then birdied every other hole on the back, starting with No. 10. Matsuyama was bogey-free, making six birdies and an eagle.

Biggest disappointment: Thomas' first-round co-leaders, Keegan Bradley and Derek Fathauer, both went south - relatively speaking - in Round 2. Both shot 64 on Thursday, but Bradley followed with a 72 and Fathauer with a 70. Then there was K.J. Choi, who followed a 69 with a 77 and plummeted 53 places in the field.

Shot of the day: Thomas chipped in for birdie on his fourth hole of the day, No. 13.

Quote of the day: ''The thing about this course, you can go shoot 12 or 13 under in a day, so hopefully I can get it going a little bit this weekend ... like I did last year.'' - Justin Thomas

Main storylines heading into Round 3: The main storyline is unchanged from post-Round 1: Can Thomas win this event back-to-back, as Ryan Moore did in 2013 and 2014? Can Lahiri stay in contention without late-round hiccups?