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Atwal, Arjun in second spot

Kuala Lumpur: Indiaís Arjun Atwal carded a fine 67 to keep up his bold bid for the Davidoff Tour Order of Merit title at the half-way stage of the $500,000 season-ending Volvo Masters meet.

Atwal was on 135 and tied for the second place alongside namesake, Arjun Singh, and Korean teenager Kevin Na at the Kota Permal Golf and Country Club Friday. Singh shot a career-low 65 for the dayís best score while Le Na credited his fatherís advice on the greens for his 66.

Atwal must win this tournament, restricted to the leading 60 players on Tour plus eight invitees, to have a chance of ending the year as the regionís No. 1. Current Merit leader Jyoti Randhawa of India and Thailandís Thongchai Jaidee, the other two players battling the crown, are amongst those in tied 13th place on 138, four behind leader Craig Kamps. South African Kamps stayed firmly in the driverís seat maintaining his overnight one-shot lead. He could have opened a bigger advantage over the elite field but dropped bogeys in two of his last three holes for a four-under-par 68.

Kamps, a two-time winner on the Davidoff Tour, threatened to break away from the pack when he moved to six-under for his round after 14 holes. But he stumbled at the end, dropping strokes on 16 and 18.

ďI played solid for most of the round. My game is on form and Iím putting solid. But itís still wide open and a long way from being done,Ē said the 37-year-old, whose last win was in 2000.

Atwal, whose form this year has been patchy after winning the European Tour-sanctioned Caltex Singapore Masters in February, was delighted with his striking which yielded six birdies.

The three-way Merit tussle continued to provide intrigue as Thongchai fired a 67 to join Randhawa, who shot a 69, in 13th place. The Thai must not finish lower than third this week if he is to become the first player in Asian PGA history to win back-to-back Order of Merit titles.

Thongchai took full advantage of his big-hitting game to birdie all the par fives for the second successive day but dropped a shot on 17 when he found the greenside bunker.

Singh, looking for his breakthrough victory, enjoyed a solid round and finished in style with birdies in the last three holes.

After carding an even-par 36 on the front, the US-based Na blitzed the inward nine with six birdies, thanks to his father Yong Na, who caddied for him.

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