Airil stays ahead in Kuching

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

KUCHING [Sarawak]: Airil Rizman played without any expectations as he fired a three-under-par 69 to grab a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) MNRB Sarawak Championship on Thursday.

The reigning PGM Order of Merit champion posted five birdies for an eight-under-par 136 total to lead from countryman R. Nachimuthu and Frenchman Erwan Vieilledent, who returned on matching 68s at the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Nils Floren of Sweden, Casey O’Toole of the United States and local talent Mohd Amli Mohiyadeen are a further shot back in tied fourth position at the Kelab Golf Sarawak. Co-overnight leader Paul Donahoo of Australia slipped to tied 10th place following a 74.

Airil, who won on the Asian Tour at the 2007 Pakistan Open, took part in an intensive mental course with Jon Stabler, the co-founder of GolfPsych Training Programme two weeks ago, and the results are beginning to show.

“I went through this mental exercise and the one thing they found out was that I think too much! So now I play without any expectations but I go through the motions and stick to my game plan. The results are showing quite nicely,” said Airil.

The 37-year-old Airil has won multiple titles on the PGM Tour including the Order of Merit last year but has yet to taste success on the ADT, which is the gateway to the Asian Tour.

“I have not won on the ADT yet but I’m having a good tournament so far. The golf course has been kind to me and everything has been going to plan. I still have two more days to go so hopefully I can maintain my momentum,” he added.

A total of 57 players progressed into the final two days as the halfway cut was set at two-over-par 146.

Leading second round scores (Par-72) >
Malaysian unless stated
136 – Airil Rizman Zahari 67-69
137 – Erwan Vieilledent (FRA) 69-68, R. Nachimuthu 69-68
138 – Nils Floren (SWE) 70-68, Casey O’Toole (USA) 70-68, Mohd Amli Mohiyadeen 69-69
139 – Janne Kaske (FIN) 72-67
140 – Wilson Choo 68-72, Tyler Ekenberg (USA) 73-67
141 – Thammanoon Sriroj (THA) 73-68, Nirun Sae-ueng (THA) 70-71, Hsieh Chi-hsien (TPE) 73-68, M. Sasidaran 69-72, Koh Dengshan (SIN) 72-69, Ratchapol Jantavara (THA) 71-70, Paul Donahoo (AUS) 67-74, Atthaphon Sriboonkaew (THA) 68-73, Rizal Amin 70-71, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA) 72-69