Jakarta [INDONESIA]: Sukree Othman’s decision to make the trip to Bank BRI-JCB Indonesian Open this week is proving to be an inspired one after the Malaysian fired a superb opening effort of five-under 67 on Thursday.
Sukree, who earned a country exemption as the reigning PGA of Malaysia Championship titleholder, traded six birdies with a bogey at the Pondok Indah Golf Course to stay within two shots of clubhouse leaders Khalin Joshi of India and three-time Asian Tour winner Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand.
The US$300,000 Asian Tour event was suspended for over two hours in the afternoon due to lightning threats before play was abandoned at 5.45pm due to fading light. A total of 56 players will return on Friday at 6.15am to complete their rounds.
Sukree was delighted with his start as he continues to regain the confidence in his short game. The 37-year-old had endured a quiet season before clinching a win at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Perlis Championship last month.
“It was a good effort. My driving my iron shots were consistent. I hit a lot of greens but I struggled with the putting. I missed a few makeable birdies so it could have been a better round but I’m happy with a 67.
“The season has been slow for me. I’ve been struggling with my swing and short game. It seems like my game is slowly coming back so I’m hopeful. This course looks and plays like my former home course. That’s one reason why I played well,” added Sukree.
Fresh from a hat-trick of victories on the flourishing domestic circuit, Ben Leong continued his run of good form as he opened his campaign with a 68.
“You have to shoot at least two-under here to be competing. I didn’t hit the ball real good but I was able to putt my way out of trouble. That’s golf I suppose. You might not hit the ball good but if you putt well then it turns out to be a good round,” said the former Asian Tour winner.
“The main key is to stay in the present. I hit two good shots and missed a short birdie putt (10th hole), then I hit two so, so shots and holed a 30-foot birdie putt (11th hole). Lately I’ve been telling myself that it doesn’t matter if you had one bad hole, you can still make up for it.”