Port Dickson [NEGERI SEMBILAN]: Mohd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf is feeding off positive vibes as he snatched a share of the opening round lead at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Port Dickson Championship on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old, who has made six consecutive cuts this year, fired a solid five-under 66 to sit alongside Nachimuthu Ramasamy at the top of the leaderboard.
The pair returned with matching cards of six birdies against a bogey at the Port Dickson Golf & Country Club to lead by a single stroke from the trio of Mohd Nazri Mohd Zain, Amir Nazrin Jailani and reigning Order of Merit champion Nicholas Fung.
Six-time Tour winner Sukree Othman carded a flawless 68 to lie joint sixth alongside Kiishaan Tharmaligam at the RM185,000 tournament.
In-form Ben Leong – already a two-time winner this season – fired a two-under 69 to stay in the mix while titleholder Sasidaran Muthiah was a further shot back.
Leading first round scores (Par-71)
66 – Nachimuthu Ramasamay, Wafiyuddin Abd Manaf
67 – Mohd Nazri Mohd Zain, Nicholas Fung, Amir Nazrin Jailani
68 – Sukree Othman, Kiishaan Tharmalingam
69 – Murthy Somasundaram, Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz, Ben Leong, Kenneth De Silva, Brandon Lau
70 – Nazri Majid, Sasidaran Muthiah, Arie Irawan, Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang
With the days of balancing his studies and playing time behind him, Wafiyuddin is enjoying his best run of the burgeoning domestic circuit.
“I’m enjoying my golf at the moment. Just being able to put all my effort into my game now and focus on my playing career has been great. My mindset is positive and I don’t get distracted by bad shots anymore. Like today, I was able to bounce back from a bogey on the opening hole,” said the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) standout, who has one top-five finish in 2017.
After bogeying the first, Wafiyuddin went on a run of four birdies to make the turn on 32. He added two further gains on the inward nine.
“I stayed patient and drained some good birdies today. The birdie on the ninth, especially was a real confidence-booster. Managed to hole a slippery right-to-left downhill putt from 15 feet, which easily is one of those birdie-to-bogey putts, so I knew it was going to be a good day,” added the former national.