KUALA LUMPUR: Sasidaran Muthiah grabbed the opening round clubhouse lead with a solid six-under-par 65 in the weather-interrupted Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) MIDF KLGCC Championship on Wednesday.
The Malaysian fired seven birdies against one bogey for his best score on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this year at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s East Course.
He leads by two shots from Thailand’s Poom Saksansin, who won his first ADT title in October, and India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu at the RM200,000 (approximately US$50,000) event, which is the second last stop on the 2015 ADT schedule.
Defending champion Rizal Amin posted a disappointing 77 to sit in tied 44th place.
The 39-year-old Sasidaran, who is searching for a first win on the flourishing domestic circuit, opened with four birdies in six holes before play was suspended due to lightning threats for close to two hours.
“No it (rain delay) didn’t stop my momentum at all. It is normal to have delays in Malaysia,” he said. “I hit the ball really well today and holed a lot of good putts. That was the key to my good score.”
Sasidaran struggled early in the season but he is beginning to show signs of improvement after putting in extra hours in training and lowering expectations.
“When you set the bar too high, you tend to think too much and push yourself harder to achieve the goals. But when you fail, you lose confidence and feel disappointed. Now I take it easy and the results are beginning to show,” he added.
A total of 66 players will return at 7.30am Thursday to complete the first round of the tournament.
Completed first round scores (Par-71)
Malaysian unless stated
65 – Sasidaran Muthiah
67 – Poom Saksansin (THA), Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND)
68 – Sukree Othman, Goh Kun Yang (SIN), Lion Goh, Shariffuddin Ariffin
69 – Lee Yoo-ho (KOR), James Bowen (USA)
70 – Brandon Lau Ka Kin, Lee Shih-hung (TPE), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) , Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA)
71 – Lee Wei-lin (TPE), Nachimuthu Ramasamy, Sean Riordan (NZL), Gavin Kyle Green (MAS) , Hsieh Chi-hsien (TPE)