Subang: Australia’s Oliver Goss looked to put his disappointment at the Malaysian Amateur Open behind him after setting the early pace at the 25th MPI-Saujana Amateur Championship on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old from Perth, who finished tied fifth at the national amateur championship after a promising start, laid down the marker with a four-under-par 68 on the Palm Course of Saujana Golf & Country Club to lead newly-crowned MAO champion Gavin Kyle Green and his compatriot Chan Tuck Soon by three shots.
Ryan Peake, who lost in a playoff to Green last year was tied for fourth on even-par 72 alongside local duo Mohd Afif Mohd Razif and Muhd Arie Irawan Ahmad Fauzi as well as Md Dulal Hossain of Bangladesh, Chieh-Po Lee of Chinese Taipei and Shinichi Mizuno of Hong Kong.
Goss, who traded six birdies against a single double bogey, was pleased with his round but admitted that that the Palm layout was more than capable of biting back.
“I putted well, converting my share of long putts but also missed some crucial short ones,” said Goss. “It is very easy to get punished on this course and every bad shot can result in your losing that hole. So, it’s important to maintain your focus at all times,” he alluded.
For reigning champion Green, it was a day of mixed luck, as he posted six birdies but gave five back through bogeys.
“I was grinding it out today as the course was definitely playing harder. I finished strongly with two birdies to stay in touch with Oliver, which was important,” said Gavin, who remains in contention to claim an unique double of the MAO and Saujana Amateur Championship – a feat last achieved by R. Nachimuthu in 1997.
Leading first round scores (Malaysia unless indicated)
68 – Oliver Goss (AUS)
71 – Gavin Kyle Green, Chan Tuck Soon
72 – Ryan Peake (AUS), Md Dulal Hossain (BAN), Chieh-Po Lee (TPE), Shinichi Mizuno (HKG), Mohd Afif Mohd Razif, Muhd Arie Irawan Ahmad Fauzi
73 – Lucius Toh (SIN), Jean Baptiste Chaumont;
75 – Marc Ong (SIN), Md Sajib Ali (BAN), Jonar Austria (PHI), Sean Niven, Tan Wei Chean
76 – John Kier Abdon (PHI), N Thangaraja (SLK), Jerome Ng (SIN)
77 – Mohamad Diab Alnoaimi (BAH), Dennis Lim (SIN); Allan Yap