Bangi [SELANGOR]: Natasha Andrea Oon lit up Danau Golf Club on Saturday as she fired a new course record to haul herself into contention at the Selangor Amateur Open.
The 17-year-old national amateur bounced back from an opening 80 with a flawless second round 65, highlighted by five birdies and an eagle.
Natasha, who won the Malaysian Amateur Open a fortnight ago, finds herself in a three-way tie for the lead on one-over 145 alongside Liyana Durisic and Winnie Ng.
Liyana returned with a 69 while Winnie, who held a share of the overnight lead, managed a 71.
Natasha, who is on her summer break in Malaysia, was glad to regain her putting touch on the tricky Danau greens.
She made a first birdie of the day on the sixth and managed another three in the next four holes before storming home strongly with another birdie on the 14th and a sensational eagle on the next hole.
“The greens were a lot more manageable today – the overnight rain softened the putting surface, and the pins were a lot more attackable. I was able to gauge my putts a lot better, and my distance control was far more accurate,” added the San Jose State University freshman.
“I felt that the birdie on the sixth got my round going. I just went into a run after that, the confidence level was high, and I was enjoying myself out there. My dad followed me today, and his presence made me a lot more relaxed,” she added.
In the men’s division, Singapore’s Low Wee Jin signed for a second consecutive 72 to share the 36-hole lead with Muhd Afif Fathi (73).
Identical 71s saw 2017 champion Galven Kendall Green and Singapore’s Nicklaus Chiam sit a shot back in joint third on 145.
Wee Jin overcame a lost ball on his thirteenth hole (hole 4), which resulted in a bogey, to remain level-par for the tournament.
“The lost ball came at an unfortunate juncture – I was three-under at that point and lost a bit of momentum. But I was able to stem my frustration and come back even-par, especially with a birdie on the closing hole,” he said.
The business marketing major at the Singapore Institute of Management Business hopes to improve a good run in Malaysia over the last two weeks, finishing second at the Malaysian Amateur Open and fifth at the Saujana Amateur Championship.
“Felt very comfortable out there, hitting lots of great shots and making some good decisions. The game-plan here is to aggressive when you can and be defensive when you need to and hopefully, I can cap it off with a win,” noted Wee Jin.
The halfway cut came at 20-over for the men and 13-over for the women with 59 players advancing into the third and final round tomorrow.
Sanctioned by the Malaysian Golf Association, the prestigious World Amateur Golf Ranking championship is supported by Tourism Selangor, in a bid to showcase the state of Selangor Darul Ehsan as the leading golf tourism destination in Malaysia.
LEADING SECOND ROUND RESULTS (Par-72)
144 – Low Wee Jin (SGP) 72-72, Muhd Afif Fathi 71-73
145 – Galven Kendall Green 74-71, Nicklaus Chiam (SGP) 74-71
147 – Muhd Ikmal Basry 72-75
149 – Donovan Lee (SGP) 78-71, Sazanur Iman Salenin 77-72, Zia Izzuddeen Abd Rashid 75-74
150 – Bryan Tan Wei Han 75-75
151 – Isaac To Chern Yi 77-74, Rhaasrikanesh Kanavathi 76-75
145 – Natasha Andrea Oon 80-65, Liyana Durisic 76-69, Winnie Ng 74-71
146 – Audrey Tan 76-70
148 – Amalia Shahzan 78-70
152 – Allycia Gan Pheik Wen 76-76, Yip Sean Yi 75-77
153 – Linna Loh (SGP) 76-77, Foong Zi Yu 74-79
154 – Vinisha Gunaseelan 82-72, Siti Zulaikhaa Shaari 77-77