Rookie challenge for Fung

Arie Fauzi ©Arep Kulal/PGM
Arie Fauzi ©Arep Kulal/PGM

Puchong: Nicholas Fung retained his two-stroke advantage at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) I&P Group Championship on Friday, despite shooting a one-under-par 70 that left him with a 134 total at the halfway stage.

The best round of the second day was carded by Arie Fauzi, who equalled his career best 64 to move into second place behind Nicholas, who himself posted an opening seven-under round at the RM150,000 tournament.

R. Nachimuthu, who shot a 66 yesterday, stumbled into a share of third after a poor one-over 72 effort. He was joined by Rahizam Ramli (69) and Khor Kheng Hwai (68), while a round of 67 lifted Kenneth De Silva into a tie for sixth with Airil Rizman (70) at 139.

On two-under 140 were Azman Basharuddin (69) and Rashid Ismail (70), while Nicholas Pua (70) and Anis Hassan (70) were tied on 141 in 10th place.

Nicholas knows that he must just keep his nose in front and do like he did today – keep the mistakes to a bare minimum in his bid to secure his second title of the season at Kinrara Golf Club.

“It wasn’t a great round but I’m happy to preserve my advantage. You got to be patient sometimes when things aren’t clicking and today was one of those days. I just need to focus much better on my game and post two low rounds over the weekend,” said the reigning PGM Merit champion.

Arie, who was in good form at the Jakarta Classic last month where he finished tied for fourth, continued with that momentum and said a recent visit to his coach in Japan helped him tremendously.

“We tweaked my swing a little and now I’m striking the ball much better and with a lot more confidence,” added the rookie professional.

“Today I really played well from tee-to-green, and my putting was strong. Whenever I got into trouble I was able to bail out and save par, except for the second last hole.”

Arie birdied eight holes and only had that solitary bogey to show for on his card. “I aim to try and keep this momentum going for as long as I can,” he said. “And that means I just got to keep trying to do things in a simple way.”

Forty five players advanced into Saturday’s third round with the halfway mark coming at eight-over 150.

Leading second round scores
134 – Nicholas Fung 64-70
136 – Arie Fauzi 72-64
138 – Rahizam Ramli 69-69, Khor Kheng Hwai 70-68, R. Nachimuthu 66-72
139 – Kenneth De Silva 72-67, Airil Rizman 69-70
140 – Azman Basharuddin 71-69, Rashid Ismail 70-70
141 – Nicholas Pua 71-70, Anis Helmi Hassan 71-70