Sukree stays top, Leong close behind

Ben Leong © Arep Kulal/PGM

Ayer Keroh: Sukree Othman’s steady march to consecutive victories on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour suffered a setback as a lacklustre display during round two of the Melaka Classic on Thursday meant that the competition was wide open going into penultimate round.

The three-time Tour winner, whose latest victory came at the Kinrara Classic a fortnight ago, could only post a poor one-over 73 at Ayer Keroh Country Club as Sabahan Ben Leong (70) narrowed the gap at the top of the leaderboard to just one shot at the halfway mark of the RM125,000 tournament.

Two strokes off the lead was Airil Rizman Zahari, the Perlis Classic victor notching five birdies against three bogeys to remain in contention with a two-day total of two-under 142.  Reigning Order of Merit champion Nachimuthu Ramasamy stumbled to 73 of his own, taking a share of fourth alongside Khor Kheng Hwai (72) and defending champion S. Sivachandhran (73) on 145.

With a five-stroke advantage in the bag, Sukree bounced back from quiet start to his round with his first birdie of the day on the 10th but gave away two bogeys on the homeward stretch to lead with a four-under 140 overall. “I simply couldn’t get it going today. It was a tough day to post a good score but unsatisfactory iron play and a few poor club selection on my part made it even difficult,” said the 35-year-old.

“It’s vital that I post a reasonable number tomorrow as Ben [Leong] is getting into his stride, so it’s going to be interesting battle tomorrow,” he added.

Forty-seven players advance into the final two rounds with the halfway cut coming at 14-over 158.

Leading second round scores
140 Sukree Othman 67-73
141 Ben Leong 70-71
142 Airil Rizman Zahari 72-70
145 Khor Kheng Hwai 73-72; S. Sivachandhran 72-73; R. Nachimuthu 71-74
146 Shaifubari Muda 73-73
147 Solhairy Sharif 77-70; S. Murthy 74-73; Shaaban Hussin 73-74