Manila [PHILIPPINES]: Nicholas Fung snatched the first round lead with a superb six-under-par 66 at the US$1 million Resorts World Manila Masters on Thursday, four days after missing out on a maiden Asian Tour victory.
The 25-year-old Fung, who has two top-10s in the richest golf tournament in the Philippines, showed his liking once more for the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club with a seven-birdie card to lead by one from Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao.
Unheralded Filipino Orlan Sumcad, Australian Sam Brazel, Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chieh-po, Spaniard Carlos Pigem, Giwhan Kim of Korea, India’s Jyoti Randhawa and Thailand Rattanon Wannasrichan all shot 68s to share fourth place in the full field Asian Tour tournament.
The slightly-built Fung, who finished one shot behind Thai winner Danthai Boonma at the World Classic Championship in Singapore last weekend, needed only 23 putts into move into contention for the second straight tournament.
“My game is feeling good. I left a couple of shots out there but it’s okay. I am feeling very confident,” said a beaming Fung. “I like playing here. It is always good to come back as I always feel comfortable. My runner-up finish last week definitely gave me a boost in confidence.”
The Sabahan revealed he has benefited from countryman Danny Chia’s advice, who told him to simply “enjoy the golf”.
“He’s like a mentor to me. Looking at how he won in Chinese Taipei recently after coming back from injury really inspired me. If he can do it, why can’t I? Furthermore, I have no injuries so I knew I needed to change my mind set. He told me to just enjoy my game and not think about winning,” said Fung.
“I wasn’t disappointed after missing out on a win last week because the runner-up finish allowed me to secure my card for next season.”
Leading first round scores (Par-72)
66 – Nicholas Fung (MAS)
67 – Poom Saksansin (THA), Hung Chien-yao (TPE)
68 – Sam Brazel (AUS), Orlan Sumcad (PHI), Lee Chieh-po (TPE), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Giwhan Kim (KOR), Carlos Pigem (ESP), Jyoti Randhawa (IND)
69 – Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Bryce Easton (RSA), Scott Barr (AUS), Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Adam Groom (AUS), Jbe Kruger (RSA), Simon Yates (SCO), Rufino Bayron (PHI), Chan Kim (USA), Masahiro Kawamura (JPN), Richard T. Lee (CAN), Jeunghun Wang (KOR), Jazz Janewattananond (THA), Clyde Mondilla (PHI), Akinori Tani (JPN), Jonathan Moore (USA)