Puchong [SELANGOR]: Sukree Othman made a great start to ending his 18-month title drought after securing the opening round lead at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Kinrara Championship on Wednesday.
Seeking a sixth Tour title, the 37-year-old recorded a flawless six-under-par 65 at Kinrara Golf Club to top the pair of Kenneth De Silva and Abel Tam, who carded matching 66s.
Sarawakian Kalana Ibrahim, who is attempting a comeback, was a further two strokes back alongside defending champion R. Nachimuthu at the RM180,000 tournament.
Top amateur Low Khai Jei was among six players, including former Merit champion Nicholas Fung, who were bunched for a share of sixth with matching 69s.
With only three runner-up finishes to show in 2014, Sukree said he was more than keen on ending his win-less run and aims to build on his promising start.
“I putted well today,” he said. “I also swung the club well and struck the ball well. Now I must try to maintain this from and see if I can go all the way (on to winning the event). I have played well in recent tournaments and today it was really very good.
“But there is still a long way to go, so we will see what happens,” added Sukree, who eagled the tenth in addition to four birdies.
Former national Abel spent his off-season working on his game in Australia and his new found confidence showed as he returned with a card of five birdies against a single bogey.
“It was a good round. I gave myself a lot of chances, despite the course being quite treacherous. The aim was to get things going strongly and I enjoyed myself out there. I want to build on my rookie-year display [where he finished 23rd on the Order of Merit] and hopefully, the work I’ve been doing with my coach over the last few weeks will pay off,” said the 23-year-old.
Leading first round scores:
65 – Sukree Othman
66 – Kenneth De Silva, Abel Tam
68 – Kalana Ibrahim, R. Nachimuthu
69 – Low Khai Jei (A), Kemarol Baharin, Md Rashid Ismail, Nicholas Fung, Shaaban Hussin, Lim Eng Seng
70 – Nicholas Pua, Ahmad Farhan Syariff, Muhd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf, Mohd Amli Mohayideen, Iylia Jamil, Hans Jamil, Jonathan Wong, P. Paramaswaran, Irfan Yusoff