Siva in early NS Masters lead

S. Sivachandhran ©ArepKulal/PGM
S. Sivachandhran ©ArepKulal/PGM

Seremban: Cowgrass expert S. Sivachandhran took the lead after the opening round of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) ASEAN PGA Negeri Sembilan Masters on Wednesday with a six-under-par 66 and based on precedent may be very hard to catch this week.Siva claimed the 2010 Negeri Sembilan Masters Invitational here at Seremban International Golf Club by 12 strokes after leading from start to finish.

The 34-year-old once again showed his love of the layout by nailing seven birdies, including on 17th and 18th, to lead by a stroke from compatriot Iylia Jamil and Thailand’s Kwanchai Tannin – the current leader of the ASEAN PGA Tour Order of Merit.

Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang is tied for third after a 68 along with Malaysians Akhmal Tarmizee, Mohd Sukree Othman, and Nicholas Pua with seasoned campaigner Mardan Mamat from Singapore, winner of the PGM-ASEAN PGA A’Famosa Masters in May, returning with a 69. Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul, who is second on the Merit list, shot a disappointing 79.

Siva said he hit the ball cleanly and putted well, which resulted in a solid opening effort. “This is a good start for me,” said Siva, who triumphed at the PGM Kelantan Classic in May.

“I am happy with how I played today and hopefully it will continue until the weekend. This is a golf course that holds many good memories for me, so it would be nice to win again,” noted the former national.

Kwanchai, meanwhile was pleased with his first day’s performance and looked forward to carry it on through the week. “The course is in good condition even though there has been a lot of rain and it played friendly. I gave myself some chances (at birdie) and I putted to take advantage of it.”

Leading first round scores:
66 – S. Sivachandhran
67 – Iylia Jamil, Kwanchai Tannin (THA)
68 – Mohd Sukree Othman, Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari, Choo Tze Huang (SIN), Nicholas Pua
69 – Nattapong Pua (THA), Ratchapol Jantavara (THA), Mardan Mamat, Keegan Kam
70 – Al-Malik Faizal, Mohd Zurie Harun, R. Nachimuthu, Lam Yu Shuen