Magical 63 shoots Kenneth into lead

Kenneth De Silva ©Arep Kulal|TCH
Kenneth De Silva ©Arep Kulal|TCH

Shah Alam: Former national Kenneth De Silva shot a career’s best score of nine-under-par 63 to share the halfway clubhouse lead with Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela at the weather-disrupted Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Northport Glenmarie Championship on Thursday. 

De Silva returned with the day’s lowest score for a two-day total of seven-under-par 137 to match with Murillo, who carded a 67, at the RM200,000 (approximately US$60,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Australian Darren Tan trailed the leading duo by one in third place on 138 while India’s Shubhankar Sharma, Malaysia’s Arie Irawan and Motonari Nakagawa of Japan shared fourth place after signing for respective rounds of 70, 71 and 66 at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

Play was halted at 2.33pm local time due to inclement weather. A total of 71 players will return at 7.30am on Friday to complete their second rounds with the third round scheduled to not start earlier than 12.00pm.

The 23-year-old De Silva, who claimed his maiden ADT win in Sarawak shortly after turning professional in 2012, was bursting with excitement after firing a flawless round highlighted by seven birdies and his second consecutive eagle on the par-five 11th this week.

“This is the best score I have got in my entire professional career! I shot a 64 at a different course last week and I didn’t expect to break my record again this week. Everything went well for me today. I was feeling really good before my round,” said the young Malaysian.

“I am hitting the ball good. My current form is good too. I will try and stay focused and play well in the next two rounds,” added De Silva who is eyeing his second professional win this week.

Starting the round four shots off the lead, Murillo charged into contention after mixing his card with one eagle, five birdies and two bogeys.

“I had a solid round today. I got off to a great start with an eagle on my second hole! The course is in great conditions and the greens are rolling nice. I’m pleased with how I played today,” said Murillo, the only Venezuelan who secured playing rights on the Asian Tour at the Qualifying School earlier this year.

Despite posting a 69 to match his opening round efforts, Tan played down on his expectations as he has yet to recover from a recent back injury.

“The week has been good so far. I haven’t had any expectations because I’m coming back from a recent back injury. Golf has been quite solid. Hopefully I can sink a few more putts in the next two rounds,” said the Australian.

Overnight leader Mitsuhiko Hashizume of Japan signed for a disappointing 75 to slip to a share of eighth place while current Order of Merit leader Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei and title holder Danny Chia of Malaysia will return on Friday to complete their rounds.

Leading completed second round scores (Malaysian unless stated)
137 – Kenneth De Silva 74-63, Wolmer Murillo (VEN) 70-67
138 – Darren Tan (AUS) 69-69
139 – Shubhankar Sharma (IND) 69-70, Arie Irawan 68-71, Motonari Nakagawa (JPN) 73-66
140 – James Byrne (SCO) 73-67
141 – Shaaban Hussin 72-69, Mitsuhiko Hashizume (JPN) 66-75, M. Sasidaran 69-72
142 – Koh Dengshan (SIN) 73-69, Grant Jackson (ENG) 73-69, Choo Tze Huang (SIN) 70-72, Iain Steel (MAS) 73-69
143 – Rizal Amin 72-71, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit(THA) 70-73