Chieh gets off to a bright start

Alor Gajah, Melaka; May 19: A stunning display of tee-to-green excellence saw Chieh Po Lee of Chinese Taipei soar to the first round lead at the 109th Malaysian Amateur Open which began at the A’Famosa Golf Resort here today.

The 16-year-old carded a round of seven-under-par 65 to take an early three-stroke advantage over Filipino Jobim Carlos. Australian Daniel Bringolf and India’s Abijhit Chadha were tied for third with matching three-under-par 69s with Singapore’s Gregory Foo a further shot behind on 70.

Gavin Kyle Green returned with the best score among the Malaysians, an even-par 72 while Kenneth De Silva could only manage a round of one-over 73. The weather took a turn for the worst in the afternoon, forcing a few flights to tee off an hour behind schedule due to the threat of lightning.

Chieh was obviously on a high after a flawless front nine of 32, highlighted by three birdies and an eagle three at the 507-metre, par-five, seventh. He mixed five more birdies against two bogeys on the inward nine to take a commanding three-shot lead into the second round tomorrow.

“I executed today’s tee and approach shots very well. It makes me happy and I feel relaxed being the clubhouse leader,” said the Taipei native. “My approach shot at seventh landed three feet from the hole, and with my 5-iron I managed to sink the eagle putt, which made my day.”

Carlos, who won the Sabah Amateur Open last month, shot six birdies against two bogeys to put himself in good position to emulate last year’s champion and compatriot Mhark Fernando’s success.

The ladies’ competition will only begin tomorrow.

First Round Results
(Malaysians unless stated)
65            Chieh Po Lee (TPE)
68            Jobim Carlos (PHI)
69            Daniel Bringolf (AUS), Abhijit Chadha (IND)
70            Gregory Foo (SIN)
71            Koh Deng San (SIN), Natipong Srithong (THA), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Angad Cheema (IND)

Notable Scores
72            Gavin Kyle Green
73            Kenneth de Silva