Kangar: Young Akhmal Tarmizee Mohd Nazari overcame tough scoring conditions at the Putra Golf Club, posting the sole under-par round of 71 in the first round of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Perlis Classic today.
The big-hitting 22-year-old from Negeri Sembilan mixed four birdies against three bogeys as he opened an early two-stroke advantage over a large chasing pack comprising of rookie professional Jeremiah Kim, Md Rashid Ismail, PGM Sime Darby Harvard Classic champion Shaifubari Muda, Sahal Saedin, Kemarol Baharin, burly Azman Basharuddin as well as S. Tamilchelvan.
Sukree Othman, P. Gunasagaran, amateur Adam Shafiq and Zalizan Mad Har were a further shot back after opening with a two-over 74 while local favourite Airil Rizman Zahari, who grew up playing in the tract, was tied on three-over 75 alongside Nicholas Pua, Hanafiah Jamil, Mohammad Azry Asyraf Noor Azam, Anis Helmi Hassan and S. Sivachandhran.
Still gunning for his first professional win since joining the paid ranks two years ago, Akhmal admitted that the combination of the tough course and the hot weather made it a tough opening round for the entire field. “I struggled early on with my rhythm and it was only after the fourth hole that I felt really comfortable. I was hitting the ball well but I had my work cut out trying to save par as the greens were really hard,” he said in a telephone interview.
“After that I just composed myself and with better course management, I was able to take control of my game and I’m really pleased to be ahead after a tough day in the office,” shared the former international, who was placed tied-19th at the season-opening tournament in Sungai Petani three weeks ago.
Akhmal was not however prepared to talk about his title hopes just yet, having previously let victory slip despite leading after 54 holes. “It’s too early to talk about that as I don’t want to let pressure throw my game plan into disarray. The golf course is really playing tough all around and it’s not going to be an easy ride,” she added.
Leading first round scores
71 – Akhmal Tarmizee Mohd Nazari
73 – Jeremiah Kim; Md Rashid Ismail; Shaifubari Muda; Sahal Saedin; Kemarol Baharin; Azman Basharuddin; S. Tamilchelvan
74 – Sukree Othman; P. Gunasagaran; Adam Shafiq (A); Zalizan Mad Har
75 – Nicholas Pua; Hanafiah Jamil; Mohammad Azry Asyraf Noor Azam; Anis Helmi Hassan; S. Sivachandhran; Airil Rizman Zahari; Solhairy Sharif