Siva, Zurie lead with solid 66s in Penang

S. Sivachandran ©Arep Kulal/PGM

Bertam: S.Sivachandhran and Zurie Harun took advantage of good scoring conditions to fire themselves into the lead after the opening round of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) MNRB Penang Classic on Wednesday.

The duo carded identical rounds of six-under 66 rounds to top a congested leaderboard by one stroke at the Penang Golf Resort with a total of 35 players carding an even-par or better score on the first day of the RM125,000 event

S. Murthy, Nicholas Pua, Kemarol Baharin and Shaaban Hussin were one shot behind while titleholder R. Nachimuthu, Anis Helmi Hassan, Wilson Choo, Nicholas Fung, Mohd Hanafiah Jamil and Md Rashid Ismail took a share of seventh with an effort of four-under 68.

Sivachandhran who has had a relatively quiet season in 2012 sprang to live with a near-flawless performance.”I had a good day out there with three birdies on the front nine and another four on the back. Except for a bogey at the par-3 fourth, there’s nothing much I can grumble about,” he said.

Starting on the inward nine, Zurie mixed four birdies and two bogeys to make the turn on 34 before cruising to the top of the leaderboard with four birdies on the front nine. “I was cruising along nicely with three birdies from the start but dropped shots at the sixth (15th) and ninth (18th) spoilt my card a little bit.”

An ace on the 12th proved to be a fair consolation for rookie professional Mohd Hafiy Suhaili, who opened his campaign with a two-over 72. A total of 87 players, including 11 amateurs are taking part in the 16th stop of the burgeoning domestic circuit with Danny Chia being the only notable absentee this week.

Leading first round scores
66 – S. Sivachandran, Zurie Harun
67 – S.Murthy, Kemarol Baharin, Shaaban Hussin
68 – R.Nachimuthu, Anis Helmi Hassan, Wilson Choo, Nicholas Fung, Mohd Hanafiah Jamil, Md Rashid Ismail
69 – Akmal Tarmizee Nazari, Mohd Sukree Othman, Muhammad Al-Warith Damian