Young turks aspire to shine in Kuching

Mohd Iylia Jamil / © Ravi Chitty (The ClubHouse)

Kuching: The Aidilfitri  cheer may still be in the air but its back to action for up-and-coming professionals Mohd Iylia Jamil and Anis Helmi Hassan at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Sarawak Classic which tees off tomorrow at the Kelab Golf Sarawak.

The duo will look to make an impact as the PGM Tour resumes after its one month hiatus with its biggest paying event to date, offering a whooping prize purse of RM250,000.

The twelfth leg of the burgeoning tour will see 86 participants, including a 15-strong amateur challenge battling it out for the top prize of RM42,000.

In the absence of Order of Merit leader Danny Chia, PGM Terengganu Classic winner Shaaban Hussin and Ben Leong, who is away in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland for the joint sanctioned Omega European Masters, seasoned campaigners such as  Johor Classic champion Md Rashid Ismail,  Harvard Classic champion Sukree Othman  (Harvard Classic), M. Sasidaran and Nicholas Fung, who triumphed in the Sabah Classic are early favourites.

A much trimmer Iylia has taken the month long Ramadhan break positively, working on his fitness and stamina while hoping to rediscover his winning swing which propelled him to his victory on his professional debut in Kinrara earlier this year. “I’ve put in the hours despite the fasting month to stay on top of my game and it paid dividends. Hopefully my experience of playing here over the last few years (as a national amateur) will give me a distinct advantage over the competition,” he said.

With rain being part of the fixture over the last couple of days, the 20-year-old is expecting the tract to play longer than usual. “It’s going to be tough. The course is playing much longer than usual and I can emphasise on the importance of staying error-free from tee-to-green. The greens also will be challenging as they are quite difficult to read but I’m confident of getting it right,” added Iylia, who’s best finish since his dramatic win was sole third at Johor Golf & Country Club in July.

Anis, on the other hand, returns to the site of his win in the Sarawak Amateur Open 2005 and is hoping to end his long-wait to record a professional victory. “I feel much refreshed after the break. A month’s holiday is more than enough and I’m raring to get back on the competitive circuit once again.  The course does feel longer that I remember but having won here previously -albeit in an amateur tournament – I feel I can achieve my goal of a big pay day come Thursday.”

PGM ORDER OF MERIT (after Sabah Classic)
1 Danny Chia (7) 91,766.00
2 Md Rashid Ismail (11) 85,118.00
3 M. Sasidaran (9) 76,539.16
4 Sukree Othman (13) 64,229.17
5 R. Nachimuthu (11) 60,316.50
6 S. Sivachandhran (8) 60,050.00
7 Shaaban Hussin (8) 58,862.50
8 Airil Rizman (11) 57,259.50
9 Haziq Hamizan (11) 53,931.67
10 Nicholas Fung (4) 49,876.67