Johor Bahru, July 12: Mohd Rashid Ismail maintained his two-shot cushion at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Johor Classic after shooting a three-under-par 69 today .
The 38-year-old took a further step closer to ending his winless streak on the PGM Tour with another composed display at the Johor Golf & Country Club for a two-day total of nine-under-par 135.
Rookie professional Mohd Iylia Jamil stayed within touch with a matching 69 while Shaaban Hussin improved to third with a second round best of 67 to trail the leader by five shots. Lim Eng Seng returned with a 69 to take a share of fourth place alongside Hilmi Abdul Rahman (73) on three-under 141.
Rashid who teed off in the back-nine, struggled with his driver for a mixed start to his round. He nailed three birdies against two bogeys to make the turn on 35 before adding a sole birdie on the outward nine.
“I missed a couple of fairways on the first nine as I was just not able to connect with my driver – I just couldn’t feel it today. I told myself to relax and proceeded to play percentage golf from the halfway point onwards.
“I was more conservative with my club selection and chose to reduce my distance to increase accuracy and luckily it saw me through a bogey-less front nine,” explained Rashid.
“I put in a few hours in the range this evening to get my driving touch back, so hopely I will register another good round tomorrow,” he shared, noting that there was still much work left before he can sew the title up.
Iylia was happy with his round despite a late double bogey on the closing hole which saw him stay second. “A little bit disappointed that I’m not tied for the lead but it happens in golf sometimes. My tee-shot on the ninth landed in thick rough and I was not able to get a clear line to green. I just plan to stick to my gameplan and continue to have fun out there,” said the 21-year-old, who claimed the PGM Kinrara Classic on his professional debut in March.
Only 13 professionals managed a score of even par and better with 57 players making the cut which came on 12-over-par 156. Another virtuoso display from amateur Abel Tam (71) today saw him tied for 14th on 145 with compatriot Daeng Hakim Daeng Aziz on 146 (74-72).
Leading second round scores
135 Md Rashid Ismail (66-69)
137 Mohd Iylia Jamil (68-69)
140 Shaaban Hussin (73-67)
141 Lim Eng Seng (72-69), Hilmi Abdul Rahman (68-73)
140 Shaifubari Muda (73-69), R. Nachimuthu (72-70), Sukree Othman (71-71), Nicholas Pua (70-72), Khor Kheng Hwai (68-74)