Rawang: Sukree Othman teed off his 2014 Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour season in stylish fashion after storming to the first round lead at the I&P Tournament of Champions on Monday.
The five-time PGM Tour winner, who has won at least once in each of the first three full campaigns of the burgeoning domestic circuit, shot a bogey-free 67 to lead by two strokes from Kemarol Baharin in the RM250,000 limited-field event at Templer Park Country Club.
R. Nachimuthu and Japan’s Masaru Takahashi, one of two foreigners in the top-five, took share of third with matching 70s with Englishman Grant Jackson joined by Iylia Jamil a stroke further back.
Sukree, who claimed the Perlis Classic last season with a polished performance, said today that his putting was what helped him to his fine start.
“I putted well today,” said Sukree. “My driver and iron-play were good too, but my putting really helped me get through the day without too many problems.”
Like several of the other players in the field, Sukree played at the ASEAN PGA sanctioned Sabah Masters last week and said that it helped him prepare for Templer Park.
“Eventhough I didn’t play as well, the tournament was a good warm-up and helped blow the cobwebs off the system. Hopefully, I can keep it going,” added the 36-year-old.
Kemarol had only one bogey in his round and finished with four birdies as he made his intentions for the title known. Coming back from illness towards the end of last season, during which he showed flash of some good form, Kemarol will be pleased with his start as he endeavours to add to his one and only victory on the Tour, secured at the Kelantan Classic in 2011.
Full first round scores (Malaysian unless stated)
67 – Sukree Othman
69 – Kemarol Baharin
70 – Masaru Takahashi (JPN) , R. Nachimuthu
71 – Iylia Jamil, Grant Jackson (ENG)
72 – Shaaban Hussin, S. Murthy , Mitsuhiko Hashizume (JPN), Ryan Bulloch (AUS)
73 – Shaifubari Muda
74 – Airil Rizman Zahari, Danny Chia
75 – Kenneth De Silva, Wilson Choo, Peter Richardson (ENG)
76 – Md Rashid Ismail, Akhmal Tarmizee, Anis Helmi Hassan
77 – Iain Steel
78 – S. Sivachandhran