Puchong: Reigning Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour Merit champion Nicholas Fung got off to flying start at the RM150,000 PGM I&P Group Championship in Kinrara Golf Club on Thursday.
The Malaysian number one looks set to extend his lead on the 2013 money list after firing a seven-under-par 64 to take a two-stroke opening round lead over Nachimuthu Ramasamy in the first event after Tour’s mid-season break.
Nachimuthu, who is hunting for his first win in 2013, signed for a five-under 66 that had him second on the leaderboard, while Kenneth Tobuse’s 68 was good enough for third place.
There was a five-way tie for fourth with Shaifubari Muda, Kemarol Baharin, Airil Rizman, Daniel Ng and Rahizam Ramli bunched on two-under 69 with Khor Kheng Hwai, Keegan Kam, Rashid Ismail, Chien Tan, Zen Dharmaratne and Abd Samat Abu taking a share of ninth on 70.
Nicholas shot a five-under 30 over the front nine and came home with a two-under 34 in a performance that saw him birdie nine holes, with two bogeys on the card.
“Everything just worked wonderfully well. I hit the ball really good today and I putted well too. This round was a compact one that felt very good and I am very happy with how in turned out.
“Hopefully, I can continue with a solid showing throughout the four days here at Kinrara. If I can do that, then I think I have a decent chance of finishing up the standings,” added the Sabah lad.
The first day’s action at Kinrara was also highlighted by a hole-in-one from Chong Chee Meng. The veteran pro struck the perfect shot at the par-three third hole, as the ball sailed directly into the cup from 138 metres. The ace appeared to do wonders for Chong, as he closed out his round with four successive birdies for an even-par 71.
“I’m pleased with the hole-in-one as it helped me get back into the game, given that I was three-over at the time. And to finish the round with four consecutive birdies was really good,” said Chong.
Leading first round scores
64 – Nicholas Fung
66 – R. Nachimuthu
68 – Kenneth Tobuse
69 – Shaifubari Muda, Kemarol Baharin, Airil Rizman, Daniel Ng, Rahizam Ramli
70 – Khor Kheng Hwai, Keegan Kam, Rashid Ismail, Chien Tan, Zen Dharmaratne, Abd Samat Abu