Sukree powers to opening lead at Ayer Keroh

Sukree Othman © Arep Kulal/PGM

Ayer Keroh: On-form Sukree Othman continued from where he left off at Kinrara a fortnight ago as he fired home a round of seven-under 65 on Wednesday to take the first round lead at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Melaka Classic.

The three-time PGM Tour winner wasted no time in getting down the business as he opened up a five-shot advantage over a resurgent Ben Leong (70) at Ayer Keroh Country Club, one shot ahead of current Order of Merit leader Nachimuthu Ramasamy. Airil Rizman Zahari and defending champion S. Sivachandhran, who triumphed here last year with a eight-under-par 280 total posted a level-par 72.

Shaaban Hussin and Shaifubari Muda were among a bunch of six on one-over par 73, including youngster Mohd Hafiy Suhaili, one of the pioneering students of the tour’s newly set-up Peak Performance Academy.

Starting on the back nine, Sukree displaying no shortage of confidence as he birdied his first two holes of the day before adding a further on the 16th to make the turn on 33.He then mixed three more birdies at the first, third and fourth before dropping his only shot of the day at the monstrous par-five ninth.

“My game is back to its best and with two victories in the bag so far this year, I’m not short of confidence,” exclaimed the Kota Permai GCC resident professional. “I didn’t commit too many errant shots except for the closing hole and my putter is still doing the trick, which gives me positive vibes for the week,” he added, noting that it was too early to talk about winning the RM125,000 event.

Having earned his first top-three finish in a while at Kinrara, Sabahan Leong is hoping that the good times will start to roll soon. “It’s a step-by-step process but it’s assuring to know that I’m getting back to where I should be,” shared the 26-year-old former Asian Tour winner, who produced a card of four birdies against two bogeys.

Leading first round scores
67 Sukree Othman
70 Ben Leong
71 R. Nachimuthu
72 Airil Rizman Zahari; S. Sivachandhran
73 John Pang; P. Gunasegaran; Shaaban Hussin; Mohd Hafiy Suhaili; Khor Kheng Hwai; Shaifubari Muda
74 M. Ramayah; S. Murthy; Md Rashid Ismail; Kenneth Tobuse; Nicholas Fung