Battling Amir retains Players’ lead

Amir Nazrin Jailani ©Mike Casper|TheClubHouse

Kajang [SELANGOR]: Amir Nazrin Jailani holds the halfway lead in the RM200,000 Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM) Players’ Championship presented by Maybank to stay on course for his maiden professional title.

The 19-year-old rookie doubled his overnight advantage with a battling one-under 71 in tough scoring conditions at the Impian Golf & Country Club on Wednesday.

Amir totalled five-under 139 to stay two shots clear of Md Rashid Ismail, who rolled back the years with a round of two-under 70.

Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz stayed in contention despite posting a one-over 73, dropping into third on 142. Shahriffuddin Ariffin (73), Lam Yu Shuen (71) and Airil Rizman Zahari were a further stroke back in joint fourth.

After an inspired birdie-filled opening round, Amir traded three birdies with two bogeys stay ahead of the chasing pack.

“I could feel from the start that it was going to be a tough day in the office. Didn’t get my [putting] lines right but I grinded out a 71, which I will take. It still leaves me in a good position going into the next two rounds. My shot-making was pretty solid and I was a lot more confident with my driver today, so overall pretty pleased with my round,” he noted.

With 36 holes left to be played, the Seri Selangor Golf Club professional is feeling pretty positive over his chances of breaking his duck on the paid ranks. He has come third on two occasions this year – first at the Port Dickson Championship in April and more recently, at the CIMB National Championship.

“I need to give myself more birdie chances and make them count. Stay out of trouble and return with a decent number tomorrow. I just need to stay level headed out there and deal with the pressure of being the last man out,” shared the decorated former national.

Returning to a tract where he spent many fruitful years as a resident professional, Rashid was more than delighted to be in contention. The 44-year-old, who has cut his playing schedule due to a reccuring back problems, had five birdies and three bogeys.

“I’m very familiar with the layout and it’s one of my scoring courses. Just happy to be out playing and I didn’t push myself out there because of my back. The game’s still very much intact and I’ll try my best against these young boys,” noted Rashid, who now dedicates much of his time grooming junior golfers in his native state of Johor.

The halfway cut came at 16-over par with 64 players, including two amateurs, advancing into Thursday’s third round.

Leading second round scores (Par-72)
139 – Amir Nazrin Jailani 68-71
141 – Md Rashid Ismail 71-70
142 – Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz 69-73
143 – Shahriffuddin Ariffin 70-73, Lam Yu Shuen 72-71, Airil Rizman Zahari 72-71
144 – Brandon Lau 72-72, Kiishaan Tharmalingam 74-70, Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang 73-71, Wilson Choo 71-73, Muhammad Wafiyuddin Abdul Manaf 71-73
145 – Lam Kong Loong 75-70