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 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