Pua ahead after sizzling 67

Nicholas Pua ©Arep Kulal|PGM
Nicholas Pua ©Arep Kulal|PGM

Jasin [MELAKA]: Nicholas Pua took advantage of favourable scoring conditions to seize the first round lead at the Orna Melaka Championship on Wednesday.

Carding an impressive five-under 67, Pua’s opening effort featured six birdies and a solitary bogey, which gave him a one-stroke lead over Lim Eng Seng at the Orna Golf & Country Club.

Dinata Abdillah and Keegan Kam were a further shot back in joint third after posting matching 69s while Lam Yu Shuen, Hans Jamil and Shaaban Hussin were tied for fifth on 70.

Pua, speaking after his fine effort, said he recently worked on “tightening up a few loose areas” of his game with his father-cum-coach and that it had paid dividends today.

“I hadn’t played that well over the last few months, but my coach-father and I worked on a few swing changes recently that appear to have made a significant difference for the better,” said Pua.

“I struck the ball well today and hopefully it will continue. One other area that I have made a conscious effort of improving was focusing on one shot at a time and it seems to be working well for me.”

Conceding that it was still early in the tournament to start getting carried away, Pua added that it was his game plan now to just take it “hole by hole”.

“I also putted well today and we will see where it all ends up, but at the moment I am confident with how I am striking the ball,’ said the 33-year-old.

Mohd Shakir Adli put in a telling performance of his own, shooting a one-over 73 to emerge as the leading amateur in the field and in a tie for 14th place with four others.

Leading first round scores:
67 – Nicholas Pua
68 – Lim Eng Seng
69 – Dinata Abdillah, Keegan Kam
70 – Lam Yu Shuen, Hans Jamil and Shaaban Hussin
71 – Abel Tam, R. Nachimuthu, M. Sasidaran
72 – S. Murthy, Lion Goh, Mohd Irfan,
73 – Mohd Shakir Adli (A), Zen Dharmaratne, Iylia Jamil, Kenneth De Silva, Hilmi Abd Rahman