Shah Alam [SELANGOR]: Victor Ng Yu Kai produced a strong driving display for an opening two-under 70 at the Malaysian Amateur Open presented by MAZDA on ThursdayMala.
He trails joint leaders Atiruj Winaicharoenchai of Thailand and India’s Kshitij Naveed Kaul by two shots at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf & Country Club.
The 16-year-old traded six birdies against four bogeys to sit in a share of fourth alongside Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng of Thailand and Singapore’s Low Wee Jin.
Reigning champion Sadom Kaewkanjana got his title defence of to a good start to sign for a three-under 69.
Despite a hesitant start, Ng – the twin sibling of national amateur Winnie – replied with a solid back nine of 33 to stay well in contention.
“I started by missing four three-foot putts in a row – kept jerking the putts because I was unsure of the green speed. But I managed to recover on the back nine and came back with five birdies, which was quite good,” he shared.
“I found a lot of fairways today, which lead to easier approach shots. Just got to keep the ball in play and take my chances over the next few days,” added the Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar student.
Leading first round scores (Par-72)
68 – Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA), Kshitij Naveed Kaul (IND)
69 – Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA)
70 – VICTOR NG YU KAI, Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng (THA), Low Wee Jin (SGP)
71 – Abdul Hadi Uda Thith (SGP) 72 – Ching-Hung Su (TPE), Muhd Rifqi Alam (INA), Wen-yang Wang (TPE), DANNY MARK GHANI MILLIS, Yu Tantsai (TPE), Taimoor Khan (PAK), Kosuke Hamamoto (THA), LEE CHONG LI
Overcoming humid conditions, seventeen-year-old Kaul found himself at the top of the leaderboard, thanks to a tidy short game performance that resulted in six birdies.
“The heat was stifling but I managed to convert a couple of good up-and-downs early on to get an head start. I felt very comfortable around the greens and gave myself a few good looks. Overall, it was a great day in the office and I hope to build on it,” said the Delhi native, who finished as the low amateur at the HERO Indian Open earlier this year.
A diverse field of 125 players from 16 Asia-Pacific nations are contesting the 116th staging of the prestigious amateur Open.