Saujana Impian: Danny Chia continued his gallant comeback from a prolonged injury break by taking a share of the first round lead at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Impian Championship on Wednesday.
The multiple Tour winner got his campaign off to a fine start with a five-under 67 at the Impian Golf & Country Club – an effort matched by reigning Order of Merit champion Nicholas Fung and former national coach Faridil Atras.
Hans Jamil, Shaifubari Muda, Mohamad Rizal Amin and Tan Chien Hau were a stroke back with current money list leader R. Nachimuthu, Arie Irawan, Kemarol Baharin, Rashid Ismail and Wilson Choo in joint eighth with matching 69s.
Dino Abdillah, Rahizam Ramli, S. Sivachandhran, Shaaban Hussin and A Sasar carded rounds of 70 on a day when the top-20 gave themselves a chance to go low.
Having spent the second half of last season on the sidelines after surgery on his neck and shoulder, Malaysia’s most decorated player was keen to prove he still has the game, even if it required a little more tuning.
“I played reasonably well today,” he said after starting on the back nine and shooting a four-under 32, before closing out his round with a 35. “I hit the ball solidly and my putting was in decent shape too.”
Turning to his fitness, he added: “I am pain-free at the moment, which is a good thing. But I am not yet fully fit in the sense that I am still doing ‘rehab’ to strengthen my arm and shoulder. So, overall I have to say that I am happy with where I am right now, although I know I still have much to do to get to where I want to be,” shared the 41-year-old.
Leading first round scores
67 – Nicholas Fung, Faridil Atras, Danny Chia
68 – Hans Jamil, Shaifubari Muda, Mohamad Rizal Amin, Tan Chien Hau
69 – R. Nachimuthu, Arie Irawan, Kemarol Baharin, Rashid Ismail, Wilson Choo
70 – Dino Abdillah, Rahizam Ramli, S. Siva Chandhran, Shaaban Hussin, A. Sasar