Chopra feels at home with strong round in Johor

Johor Bahru: Sweden`s Daniel Chopra seized the lead as he bids to capture a second Iskandar Johor Open on a course he calls his "second home".

Chopra, 37, moved four strokes clear of the field in adding a six under par 65 in the second round just hours after ending the first round with a 64 for a 13-under par tally on the rain-softened Horizon Hills course.

However, a further two-and-a-half hour thunderstorm delay has brought the strong possibility of the $2 million event being reduced to 54 holes.

When play was halted at 6.35pm local time, half the field had not finished their second round including opening round leader Joost Luiten of Netherlands and defending champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland.

Chopra`s second round was a mix of six birdies and just one bogey under a continued "preferred lie" rule.

"I won the 1993 Johor Open so coming back this year has worked out well after a week in Singapore," he said.

"It`s been very easy to come up here to Johor from Singapore. But having grown up in India and spent all my youth travelling around Asia I have so many friends living out in this part of the world so it`s like my second home."

"It`s the one place in the world where I feel comfortable and feel like I am back home. Shooting low scores like 64 and then 65 is a great start and always a good feeling. I`ve had quite a few rounds like that the last few months."

"So if I can keep my bad rounds to about one or two under par I will be really happy."

After losing his PGA Tour at the end of 2010, Chopra spent last season on the secondary Nationwide Tour to finish 19th and regain full PGA Tour rights.

"I can`t wait to get back on the PGA Tour because losing my tour card at the end of last year was a bitter pill to swallow," he said.

"But I committed myself to the Nationwide Tour this year and got the job done. I won early in the season but it was still stressful as I didn`t play that well in the middle of the season as I was trying too hard."

Three players - Swedish pair Christian Nilsson (67) and Michael Johnson (65) and Mohamed Siddikur (67) from Bangladesh - are in second place on eight under par.

Luiten, looking for a first European Tour success, remained at eight under par after five holes while Harrington stayed at seven under par through eight holes.

Manny Villegas, the younger brother of the PGA Tour`s Camilo, recorded the best score of the second round in carding a 63 to finish on seven under par.

Bureau Report

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