Nicholas Fung dropped a shot in the third round of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s Nilai Springs Closed Championship today – the first of his week – and yet still retained a four-stroke cushion at the top of the leaderboard.
After two bogey-free efforts over the first two days at Nilai Springs Golf & Country Club in Negeri Sembilan, Fung carded a one-over-par 73 and finished the day on 10-under 206. That left him four ahead of Shaaban Hussin, whose two-under 70 saw him stay second on 210.
Content with his performance so far this week, in which he has played each of his rounds two-under, Shaaban said: “If it was not for my putting I would have scored even better today.
“I have been hitting the driver and my irons well this week, but I have been finding it tough to read the greens, which are hard and difficult.”
Not to be disheartened, Shaaban added: “I hope to keep the same form in the last round tomorrow and hopefully I can give myself more chances at birdie – and maybe with some luck the putts will drop.”
Shaaban was one-under for each of the nines, having weighed in with three birdies and a bogey at the par-5 10th hole.
In contrast, Fung had a topsy-turvy round, signing for three birdies and four bogeys – three of which came over the back nine at holes 10, 12 and 14.
The two-time PGM Tour Player of the Year started with a bogey at the 3rd hole before zoning in with two birdies at the 5thand 8th holes. Then came the trio of setbacks on the back nine that were followed by a birdie at the easy par-5 17th hole.
Kim Leun Kwang moved up from fourth to third despite a 73 today. He was two-under 214 for the tournament, one stroke ahead of Rizal Amin (69), Kemarol Baharin (72) and Sukree Othman (74) on 215.
On a day when only six players managed under-par rounds on a course that most of the players said was “short” prior to the start of the tournament, there was a six-way tie for seventh place at even-par 216.
With the Nilai layout expected to play just as tough tomorrow, the fourth and final day in the RM180,000 event should be filled with fireworks at the top of the leaderboard.
Leading Third Round Scores
206 Nicholas Fung 68-65-73
210 Shaaban Hussin 70-70-70
214 Kim Leun Kwang 71-70-73
215 Rizal Amin 75-71-69, Kemarol Baharin 71-72-72, Sukree Othman 72-69-74
216 Hans Jamil 73-73-70, S. Siva Chandhran 76-69-71, M. Azman Basharudin 73-71-72, Ben Leong 73-70-73, Airil Rizman 72-70-74, Iylia Jamil 70-70-76
218 Akhmal Tarmizee 73-74-71, P. Gunasagaran 73-72-73
219 Lam Yu Shuen 74-73-72, Low Khai Jei (A) 73-73-73, Solomon Emilio 70-74-75, Khavish Varman (A) 70-72-77