Abel, Kelly take early lead in Johor

Abel Tam (filepix by Khalid Redza/Asian Tour)

Johor Bahru: Local favourites Abel Tam and Kelly Tan stemmed the onslaught of a strong Singapore contingent to lead after the opening round of the Johor Amateur Open on Wednesday.

Abel and Kelly, who were part of the Malaysian team which lost  to their Causeway rivals in the annual MGA-SGA matchup in Selangor last Saturday, set the early pace with a even-par 72 and a two-over 74 respectively at Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club.

The winner of the Kelantan and North Malaysian Amateur Opens, Abel made the turn with a one-under 35 before giving back a shot on the back nine to return with a two-shot lead over Singapore’s Marc Ong. A further three strokes behind in a share for third were Marc’s compatriots Thomas Tan and Nicklaus Chiam.

The 20-year-old Johorean, who has enjoyed a good run of form this year including making the halfway cut at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship as well as the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters, knows that a valuable start at next month’s Iskandar Johor Open awaits the men’s category winner of the amateur championship.

“It will definitely be another career high for me to qualify for the Iskandar Johor Open but there’s way to much golf to play, so I’m not getting ahead of myself. Singapore has a strong team of notable winners here, so it’s important that I keep myself composed and give them a hard time instead,” exclaimed Abel when contacted by The ClubHouse.

In the ladies division, former  Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open champion Kelly has a solid four-stroke advantage over Singaporean duo of Koh Sock Hwee and Joey Poh.

Leading first round scores
72 – Abel Tam
74 – Marc Ong (SIN)
77 – Thomas Tan (SIN), Nicklaus Chiam (SIN)
78 – Roszalu Baharuddin, Quentin Clark (SIN), Alvin Hiew
79 – Kiishan Tharmalingam, Jeremy Chan, Muhamad Ridhwan Johari
80 – Billie Pay, Mohamad Khairul Hafiz Marzuki
81 – Daeng Abdul Rahman Abd Aziz

74 – Kelly Tan
78 – Koh Sock Hwee (SIN), Joey Poh (SIN)
80 – Hilferah Tan
81 – Amelia Yong (SIN)
82 – Nadhra Aqilah (SIN)
84 – Yeyen Safitri (INA)
85 – Renata Riza Dimaya (INA)
86 – Amanda Tan (SIN)
10 – Lim Jia Yi (SIN)