New groom Choo leads in PD

Wilson Choo ©Arep Kulal|PGM
Wilson Choo ©Arep Kulal|PGM

PORT DICKSON [Negeri Sembilan]: Wilson Choo celebrated his recent nuptial by shooting an opening four-under-par 67 for the first round lead at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Port Dickson Championship on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Choo, who claimed his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title in Langkawi in February, overcame a shaky start at the Port Dickson Golf and Country Club to lead by one stroke from countrymen Kemarol Baharin, R. Nachimuthu and Khor Kheng Hwai and American Paul Harris.

Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolphaisan, Micah Lauren Shin from the United States and local duo Lam Yu Shuen and Shaifubari Muda fired matching 68s to share sixth place in what is the 13th leg of this season’s ADT Schedule.

Six days after signing his wedding papers with sweetheart Melanie Pang, a blissful Choo, currently seventh on the ADT Order of Merit, sank six birdies on the card against two bogeys in the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) event.

“We signed the marriage documents last Thursday although our Chinese wedding ceremony will only take place sometime next year. I guess I have to play well now as I have to support a family,” smiled Choo.

Bogeys on one and four were offset by a chip-in birdie on two and another birdie on three before he made further gains with four more birdies over his last 12 holes to edge ahead of a crowded leaderboard sprinkled with Malaysian names.

“The start wasn’t great but I kept it going and stuck to my game plan. On the back nine, I birdied the par five 16th and then putted in from the fringe on 17 for another birdie,” said Choo.

“Before winning in Langkawi, I was already planning to play in more ADT events this season to try to get onto the Asian Tour. And the win has brought me a step closer. It’s also helped with my confidence as it showed that I could win and my score then of 18-under-par is my personal best so far. It’s given me the self-belief that I can win tournaments.”

Harris, who enjoyed a tied fourth outing in the ADT Philippine swing last month, carded six birdies against three bogeys to stay in the hunt while compatriot Shin was a further stroke back following a 69.

Leading first round scores (Par-71)
Malaysian unless stated
67 – Wilson Choo
68 – Kemarol Baharin, R. Nachimuthu, Khor Kheng Hwai, Paul Harris (USA)
69 – Lam Yu Shuen, Micah Lauren Shin (USA), Shaifubari Muda, Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA)
70 – Hans Jamil, M. Sasidaran, Ratchapol Jantavara (THA), Shaaban Hussin, Mohd Azman Basharudin, Tommy Mansuwan (THA), Pijit Petchkasem (THA), Sean Riordan (NZL), Airil Rizman Zahari, Lion Goh, Greg Moss (USA)