Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung took full advantage of a ‘lucky’ opening eagle en route to an impressive six-under-par 65 in the first round of the inaugural US$1.5 million Ho Tram Open on Thursday.
Starting from the par-five 10th hole, the 25-year-old mishit his approach shot which remarkably spun back into the cup for an outrageous eagle. He went on to shoot five more birdies against a lone bogey for a share of fourth place and trails first day leader Charlie Wi of Korea by three.
Malaysian rookie Gavin Green battled to a 70 in the Asian Tour’s richest full field tournament while Danny Chia, who is on track to qualify for Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup against Europe next month, fired a 71.
“It was a lucky shot,” conceded Fung. “It was 85 metres to the pin but I pushed my shot right and it spun back into the hole. It was a blind shot so I didn’t know that it went in until my caddy told me.”
Despite windy conditions, Fung kept a cool head at the award-winning The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip course and was duly rewarded with a strong start in yet another attempt to secure a maiden Asian Tour win.
Ranked 36th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, the slightly built Malaysian, who finished runner-up in Singapore several weeks ago, is also hoping to make a late push for a place in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM. He needs to be amongst the top-four Asians on the Order of Merit by December 14.
Fung, however, is keen to play down any pressure to get into the team or secure a first win in Asia’s premier golf circuit.
“I tried to take it easy. I started my round quite late in the morning and the wind was already blowing. The course is not long so I had some good birdie chances. It will be tougher tomorrow (in the afternoon) so I just need to avoid making mistakes,” he said.
“I’ve been telling myself to stay positive and relax. I was in contention in the last two Asian Tour events but I put too much pressure on myself.”