Sungai Buloh [SELANGOR]: Muhammad Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf set a sizzling pace to grab the opening round lead with Panuwat Muenlek of Thailand and Korea’s Youngjea Byun at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Panasonic Malaysia Championship on Wednesday.
The former national fired one eagle and seven birdies against a bogey to match the opening efforts of Byun and three-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner Panuwat.
The leading trio hold a one-shot advantage over American Lexus Keoninh, who sits in fourth place on his own following a spectacular birdie-birdie-eagle finish to his round at Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia.
A host of five players, including American Brett Munson and Malaysia’s Sukree Othman, signed for identical 67s to stay three shots off the pace in the RM250,000 (approximately US$55,000) tournament.
Wafiyuddin, who notched his first top-five finish on the ADT at the season-opener last month, soared with an eagle on his first hole 10 and added three birdies to turn in 31.
He dropped a shot on second but recovered swiftly with a birdie on third. He then closed with three straight birdies to set a new personal 18-hole record for himself and mark his best-ever round on the ADT since turning professional in 2015.
“I hit the ball good. I got off to a superb start and managed to ride on the momentum from there. I was able to hit it close to the pin today and leaving myself with putts from one club length.
“My iron-play was solid. I felt very confident out there. I will stick to the same game plan tomorrow,” said the 26-year-old Universiti Utara Malaysia graduate.
The leading Malaysian professional, not otherwise exempt, will receive an invitation to participate in the Panasonic Open Japan, a tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour, from April 20 to 23.