Despite having his overnight lead cut by a stroke, Arie Irawan still maintain a sizeable advantage over the field at the halfway stage of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s RM350,000 Players Championship today.
Irawan shot a second round 70 at Impian Golf & Country Club that gave him a 10-under-par 134 total and four-stroke lead over Kemarol Baharin, who moved into second place with a fine seven-under 65
Happy with his two-under performance, which followed an opening day 64, Irawan said: “I hit the ball just as well as I hit it yesterday, the only difference today was that the putts did not fall as much.
“But I am still happy with where I am – I gave myself chances at birdies and hopefully I can continue with this form.
“I have been striking the ball well for some time now and overall I know I just have to play my game – keep focusing on doing the right things and eliminating the mistakes.”
The 24-year-old, seeking a breakthrough win on the Tour after coming close on a few occasions, added that he felt comfortable with his swing and looked forward to the challenge over the next two days.
Kemarol, meanwhile, said he too was pleased with his efforts today, which saw him card nine birdies that were offset by two bogeys.
“Everything worked out very well today,” said the 29-year-old from Kuala Lumpur. “From tee to green I felt in control and my putting was very good too.”
In reference to how he finished the PGM MIDF Championship at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club last Sunday, where he closed out the event with a 66 and ended up third, Kemarol said: “I have been hitting the ball well and maybe I can win this one (tournament).”
A multiple winner on the Tour, Kemarol clinched the season-opener back in January and said he would love it if he could seal the deal at Impian and win the season-ending event as well.
The tussle for the PGM Tour’s Order of Merit title stayed on the line as Airil Rizman (70), who leads R. Nachimuthu (72) by just under RM10,000 in the standings, finished the day joint third with his closest pursuer for the OOM crown. They were level-pegged on five-under 139.
A stroke further back in fifth place was Mohamad Azman Basharudin, who signed for a 68. Lim Eng Seng (67), Ben Leong (69), Abel Tam (70), Wilson Choo (71) and Sukree Othman (71) were tied for sixth on one-under 141.
For Lim it was a case of playing through the pain, having injured a wrist in the gym a couple of weeks ago.
“There is still pain in my wrist but I wanted to play this event – the last one on the Tour this season, so I am pleased I came back with a 67 today.
“With the course being wet because of all the rain, it was not easy, but I’m happy with how I came through today,” he added.
Leading Second Round Scores
134 -10 Arie Irawan 64-70
138 -6 Kemarol Baharin 73-65
139 -5 Airil Rizman 69-70, R. Nachimuthu 67-72
140 -4 Mohamad Azman Basharudin 72-68
141 -3 Lim Eng Seng 74-67, Ben Leong 72-69, Abel Tam 71-70, Wilson Choo 70-71, Sukree Othman 70-71
142 -2 Mohamad Rizal Amin 72-70, Dino Abdillah 71-71, Ahmad Farhan Syarif 71-71, Kenneth Tobuse 70-72, Zen Dharmaratne 70-72