Gritty Shaaban stays in touch

Shaaban Hussin celebrates with his caddie after his third eagle of the week ©Khalid Redza|Asian Tour
Shaaban Hussin celebrates with his caddie after his third eagle of the week ©Khalid Redza|Asian Tour

Petaling Jaya: Shaaban Hussin slam-dunked an eagle from 120 meters as he stayed within touching reach of second round leader Anirban Lahiri at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters on Friday. 

The home hero battled to a one-under-par 70 for a two-day total of four-under-par 138 at the Seri Selangor Golf Club to lie in tied ninth place, six shots behind the hard-charging Indian at the RM1.3 million (approximately US$410,000) Asian Tour tournament.

After snaring successive eagles during his opening round, Shaaban, who is playing on his home course, enjoyed another memorable moment when he holed out his approach shot for a delightful two on the par four first hole, his 10th of the day, with a wedge.

“I’m definitely happy because I’m still up there on the leaderboard. I started off slowly but luckily I came back with my eagle on the first hole. I didn’t get off to a good start and my confidence went down,” said Shaaban.

“I tried to stay focused and I started to fight back. The turning point was the eagle on one. It was an excellent shot with my pitching wedge and my ball went straight into the hole … there was no bounce. I thought my ball had gone over the green but I saw some scratches on the edge of the cup and then I found my ball in the hole.”

Much to his dismay though, he gave the two shots straight back on the second hole with a double bogey but the slender Malaysian finished strongly with three more birdies over his last five holes to trail his playing partner Lahiri, who leads on 132.

“It was a simple double bogey. I wasn’t really in any trouble but walked away with a double,” he lamented.

Five years ago, he was also in contention at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters before finishing equal 11th. He is fired up to improve on that showing this weekend.

“I think I can do better. I want to finish lower than what I did previously. I think I’m in contention and anything can happen. Hopefully I can minimise my mistakes and avoid the bogeys and double bogeys,” he said.

Ben Leong, the 2008 Selangor Masters champion, continued his comeback from injury with a second round 69 to safely make the cut with his 141 total while the other Malaysians who made the halfway cut were Hans Jamil (142), Danny Chia (142), Sukree Othman (143), Khor Kheng Hwai (143), Nicholas Fung (144) and Md Azman Basharudin (144).

Mohd Iylia Jamil is even par for the tournament with several holes to complete while Kenneth De Silva is one-over with three holes to complete on Saturday morning following a weather delay this afternoon.

Leading completed second round scores:
132 – Anirban Lahiri (IND) 64-68
134 – Cameron Smith (AUS) 68-66
136 – S.S.P Chowrasia (IND) 66-70
137 – Jake Higginbottom (AUS) 72-65, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 68-69, Jay Bayron (PHI) 69-68
138 – Simon Griffiths (ENG) 70-68, Shaaban Hussin (MAS) 68-70, David Lipsky (USA) 72-66
139 – Scott Barr (AUS) 70-69, Kim Gi-whan (KOR) 73-66, Carlos Pigem (ESP) 71-68, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 71-68.
140 – Lionel Weber (FRA) 70-70, Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 71-69, Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 70-70, Paul Peterson (USA) 69-71, Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 70-70
141 – Kieran Pratt (AUS) 69-72, Ryan Yip (CAN) 71-70, Ben Leong (MAS) 72-69, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 71-70
142 – Wang Jeung-hun (KOR) 70-72, Thitiphun Chuayprakong (THA) 74-68, Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 69-73, Hans Jamil (MAS) 73-69, Danny Chia (MAS) 74-68, Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 71-71.