Airil off to solid start in Kuching

Airil Rizman ©Azhari Yusop|PGM
Airil Rizman ©Azhari Yusop|PGM

KUCHING [Sarawak]: Airil Rizman opened with a five-under-par 67 without playing a practice round to share the lead with Paul Donahoo of Australia at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) MNRB Sarawak Championship on Wednesday.

The reigning domestic Order of Merit winner produced six birdies against one bogey including a par save on the last hole when he brilliantly made up-and-down from the greenside bunker to share the lead at the Kelab Golf Sarawak.

Wilson Choo and Atthaphon Sriboonkaew of Thailand were a further shot back in third place on equal 68s at the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

“I’m a lot more consistent but I don’t seem to be producing the results this year. I made more cuts up to this point compared to last year. My scores are definitely more consistent but I haven’t had any super low rounds to help me contend for the title,” said Airil.

Airil, who won on the Asian Tour in 2007, believes that his low round today is a sign of better things to come. “I enjoyed a good season last year and that only started in June! I’m happy with my progress so far and I guess I have one more month to hit that form again. ” he laughed.

Playing in his third ADT event this year, Donahoo credited his tee shots for his solid start where he posted six birdies.

“I like the course. It suits my eye. I’ve played quite good this year. I only need to put four good rounds together. I’ve been staying patient and I’m just going through the processes to see where it leads me,” said the 34-year-old Australian.

Leading first round scores (Par-72):
Malaysian unless stated
67 – Paul Donahoo (AUS), Airil Rizman Zahari
68 – Atthaphon Sriboonkaew (THA), Wilson Choo
69 – Malcolm Kokocinski (SWE), R. Nachimuthu, Mohd Amli Mohiyadeen, Zurie Harun, Low Khai Jei (A), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), M. Sasidaran, Erwan Vieilledent (FRA)
70 – Nils Floren (SWE), Casey O’Toole (USA), Masaru Takahashi (JPN), Wisut Artjanawat (THA), Rizal Amin, Michael Moore (AUS), Nirun Sae-Ueng (THA), Jake Stirling (AUS), Annop Tangkamolprasert (THA), Clarke Lutton (SCO), Konstantin Liu (HKG)