Birdie binge puts Amir ahead

Amir Nazrin Jailani ©Mike Casper|TheClubHouse

Kajang (SELANGOR): Amir Nazrin Jailani took advantage of a hot start to claim the first round lead at the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM) Players’ Championship presented by Maybank on Tuesday.

A sound putting display made up for some wayward drives as the 19-year-old returned with a four-under 68 effort at Impian Golf & Country Club.

It left Amir one stroke clear of former national stablemate Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz, who carded four birdies against a single bogey.

Completing a youthful 1-2-3 at the RM200,000 tournament is Shahriffuddin Ariffin – the in-form Melakan a further shot back in third with Wilson Choo, Md Rashid Ismail and Muhd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf in joint fourth after signing for matching 71s.

A lack of experience at the tract made no difference for Amir, who notched three birdies either side of dropped shot on the fifth for a front nine of 31.

“It’s my first competitive tournament on this golf course and I was just hoping to return with a decent number. But the three early gains caught me by surprise – I was driving the ball all over the place but my short game kept giving me birdie opportunities. I was just placing the ball within one pin and I was very confident over the putter,” said the rookie professsional, who recorded a back nine 37.

Nine months into his professional career, Amir is hoping to emulate fellow youngsters Daeng and Shariffuddin in tasting success on the professional ranks. He finished a creditable third at the CIMB National Championship in July and believes his new-found confidence will edge him closer to a win.

“I’m slowly getting into a rhythm and my confidence has been boosted since my performance at TPC Kuala Lumpur. I just need to sort out my driving this week because other than that, my shotmaking and putting is pretty solid at the moment,” he added.

Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz ©Mike Casper|TheClubHouse

Daeng was pleased with his effort after putting some minor swing adjustments into tournament play.

“I’ve been working on increasing my distance and accuracy off the tees and I was happy with how I fared. It was great playing with Amir today – we spent much of our amateur days playing together and I was able to just ride on his momentum,” shared the Johorean, who has two professional titles to his belt.

Leading first round scores (Par-72)
68 – Amir Nazrin Jailani
69 – Daeng Abdul Rahman Abd Aziz
70 – Shahriffuddin Ariffin
71 – Wilson Choo, Md Rashid Ismail, Muhd Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf
72 – Kemarol Baharin, Lam Yu Shuen, Airil Rizman Zahari, Brandon Lau, Sukree Othman
73 – Abel Tam, Sasidaran Muthiah, John Pang, Muhd Syakir Adli Azmi, Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang, Farid Rashid, Zen Dharmaratne