Daeng shines, Gavin leads local hopefuls

Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz ©Mike Casper|The ClubHouse

Shah Alam [SELANGOR]: National amateur Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz underlined his immense talent and promise by comfortably making the halfway cut at the Maybank Championship on Friday.

The 17-year-old teenager turned around his campaign at the US$3 million tournament with a brilliant second round of 67 to get to four-under 140 at the Saujana Golf & Country Club.

It left him a stroke behind Maybank ambassador Gavin Kyle Green, who leads the domestic charge at the Saujana Golf & Country Club.

Gavin Kyle Green © Mike Casper|The ClubHouse

Green stayed patient in the intense afternoon heat, converting a birdie at the last to sign for a 71 to take a share of 19th with nine others.

There was also home comforts for Danny Chia (69) and Ben Leong (71), who advanced into the weekend for the first time on the Asian Tour this year – both totalling three-under 141.

A day after his opening-round heroics,  a nervous Arie Irawan slumped with a four-over 76 – dropping four shots inside three holes on the way in – to sit on the cut-line, which came at two-under alongside Nicholas Fung (72).

But all eyes were on young Daeng, who put on a confident putting display, which yielded four birdies against a sole bogey on 12.

“I’m really happy with the way I played today. Very pleased with my ball-striking but my putting really stood out. I raked in the birdies and made some astoundingly long par saves, which I felt were probably as important if not more,” said Daeng, who is the sole amateur to remain in the competition after reigning Asia-Pacific Amateur and US Amateur Open winner Curtis Luck of Australia bowed out.

An opening 73 meant that Daeng had to go low to play in the weekend and the nation’s top-ranked amateur responded to the challenge in a big way.

“I knew I had to post a good number today if I wanted to stay in the tournament. Fortunately, I was able to channel the pressure in the right way. I stayed patient out there and hope to take the same mindset into the weekend and put on a good under-par display,” added the Johorean.