Subang: Sukree Othman gave his Order of Merit title chances a massive lift by taking the opening round lead at the rain-delayed Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) UMW Glenmarie Classic on Tuesday.
First round play was abandoned at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club on Monday due to incessant storms with players bracing for a long day of golf as they returning early this morning to pick up from where they left in the season’s penultimate event, which is offering a prize purse of RM180,000.
The second round, which began late afternoon, could not be completed due to failing light with the third round not expected to start before 10.30am on Wednesday.
The delays however proved insignificant to the fourth-ranked Sukree, who got off to brilliant start with a six-under 66 on the back of six birdies, including three consecutive gains from the opening tee. The 35-year-old leads M. Sasidaran and Mohd Rusli Johari by three shots with reigning Order of Merit champion R. Nachimuthu a further shot adrift on 70.
Sabahan Nicholas Fung, who is eyeing a sensational sweep of Merit titles on the burgeoning domestic circuit as well as the regional ASEAN PGA Tour circuit was tied for fifth alongside seasoned campaigner Danny Chia after posting matching 71s.
Sukree knows that a victory this week ahead of the season-ending PGM-Maybank Tour Players’ Championship will a vital step if he is to realise his early season form and claim the Merit title.
“It’s going to come down to keeping a collected head in these conditions and putting well,” shared Sukree, who claimed victories in Kelantan, Kinrara and Melaka in the first half of the season but lies RM20,000 behind current leader Nicholas.
Leading first round scores
66 – Sukree Othman
69 – M. Sasidaran, Mohd Rusli Johari
70 – R. Nachimuthu
71 – Nicholas Fung, Danny Chua
72 – Ong Jay Vie (A), Wilson Choo, Iqbal Yusoff
73 – V. Arumugam, Kalana Ibrahim, Shaifubari Muda