KUALA LUMPUR: Nur Durriyah Damian cut a relieved figure as she impressed on her first professional start, opening her campaign at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia with a battling one-over 72 on Thursday.
The 22-year-old wound up with a double bogey on the 17th that spoiled an otherwise solid display on the East Course of TPC Kuala Lumpur.
It left Durriyah in the company of 13 other players sharing 41st spot, alongside her former national stablemates Natasha Andrea Oon and Winnie Ng Yu Xuan.
A hesitant first nine proved costly for Michelle Koh, who returned with a 75 while debutant Liyana Durisic settled her nerves with a six-over 77.
Aretha Pan Herng could only manage a 79 as another first-timer Zulaikah Nurziana Nasser finished a further two shots back.
Kelly Tan, the country’s sole representative on the LPGA, found herself in unwelcome new territory – a round of 82 leaving the birthday girl at the wrong end of the leaderboard in the US$1.8 million event.
As nervous as she was coming into the tournament, Durriyah was nonetheless pleased with her calm approach to the task at hand.
“To be honest, I wasn’t nervous starting today. Was a bit jittery thinking about my professional debut the last few days but I was happy with how I stayed cool out there. Made a couple of mistakes – there were ups and downs but overall, very pleased with the way I played, especially my ball striking.
Her only real regret was the 17th when he she found the water on the difficult par-three. “A little disappointed with that because I had battled hard to stay at one-under till that point. But you take the bitter medicine and move on for tomorrow,” she added.
Durriyah will be aiming to improve on her two previous appearances in the tournament – a joint 69th last year and 72nd on her 2015 debut.
“I managed to stick to my game plan and that was a good sign. Probably have to convert a couple more birdie opportunities, especially inside 10 feet. If I can do that, I’m sure I can get going.”