Arie one shot behind at Riviera

Arie Irawan ©Arep Kulal|PGM
Arie Irawan ©Arep Kulal|PGM

Manila (PHILIPPINES): Arie Irawan got off to an encouraging start as Sweden’s Nils Floren and England’s Grant Jackson set the early pace at the  inaugural US$60,000 ICTSI Riviera Classic on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Malaysian opened his campaign with a three-under 69 to grab a share of third place alongside four Filipinos – one shot behind Floren and Jackson, who carded matching 68s to lead at the Riviera Golf & Country Club.

Having missed out on his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School in 2013 and 2014, Arie admits he is still at that progressive stage in his career where he needs to hone his game before he can savour success.

“It is an encouraging start but I would like to say it’s still work in progress. I’m still learning and grabbing whatever opportunities that come my way,” said the 23-year-old, who turned professional in April last year.

While it is still early days at the ICTSI Riviera Classic, the former national hopes he can continue to stay focused on the task ahead.

“Mentally, I was very focused today. You’re better off having a stronger mental game than hitting a bad shot. I’m glad I was able to do that well today and hopefully I can maintain this consistency,” said Arie, who has already enjoyed two top-10s on the ADT this season.

Three players have yet to complete their opening round which was suspended due to fading light.

Leading first round scores
68 – Nils Floren (SWE), Grant Jackson (ENG)
69 – Michael Bibat (PHI), Albin Engino (PHI), Arie Irawan, Robert Pactolerin (PHI), Elmer Salvador (PHI)
70 – Mitsuhiko Hashizume (JPN), Shubhankar Sharma (IND), Reynaldo Pagunsan (PHI),Zanie Boy Gialon (PHI)