On a day when the weather twice interrupted play, Kuala Lumpur’s Kemarol Baharin took the first round lead in the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s RM180,000 UMW Impian Championship.
Play was suspended between 2.30 and 3.45pm and then called off again at 5.09pm due to the weather, and it left Kemarol with the clubhouse lead.
The 29-year-old and multiple winner on Tour, shot a five-under-par 67 to lead the tournament by a singe stroke from Indonesia’s William Sjaichudin at Impian Golf & Country Club in Kajang.
Speaking after his round, played in the morning session, Kemarol said his good score was down to keeping the ball in the fairways and putting confidently.
“I hit the ball solidly and only missed one green,” he noted, in reference to the par-5 5th hole, which he bogeyed.
“I started the hole badly and when I tried to recover and lay-up, I ended up in the bunker and that is what led to the bogey,” he added.
That aside, Kemarol had six birdies on his card – two over the first nine and another four on the back nine, including the closing hole.
“I also putted very well today,” he said. “It was one of those days when almost everything went according to how I wanted to play.”
William’s round was loaded with ups and downs. The Indonesian had eight birdies in all – four on each nine and the most by any player out there today. However, over a six-hole stretch from the 2nd to the 7th he gave four shots back – including a double-bogey six at the 4th hole.
In the event co-sanctioned with the Asean PGA Tour, Thailand’s Supravee Phatam, Rattanon Wannasrichan, Piya Swangarunporn and Sutijet Kooratanapisan were tied for third alongside Malaysia’s Sukree Othman on three-under 69.
The Thai pair of Tanatchan Puaktes and Wisut Artjanawat both shot 70s to finish joint eight, with Malaysian Khor Kheng Hwai.
Wisut also figured in the only hole-in-one on the day and he revealed that he has 10 aces to his credit.
“Eight of those (hole-in-ones) have been in tournaments,” he said. “And seven have been as a pro”
A three-time winner in Malaysia – twice in Sabah Masters (2011 and 2014) and the Harvard Championship (2014) – Wisut said his round of two-under was littered with “silly mistakes”.
“I played well today,” he said. “I kept the ball in play but my approach shots and silly mistakes around the green let me down.
“Hopefully tomorrow I can continue to play well and reduce the number of mistakes,” he added.
Leading First Round Scores
67 Kemarol Baharin
68 William Sjaichudin
69 Supravee Phatam, Mohd Sukree Othman, Rattanon Wannasrichan, Piya Swangarunporn, Sutijet Kooratanapisan
70 Tanatchan Puaktes, Wisut Artjanawat, Kheng Hwai Khor
71 Ronnachai Jamnong, Mohd Azman Basharudin, Pawin Ingkhapradit, Hilmi Abdul Rahman
72 Nelson Huerva, Iylia Jamil, R Nachimuthu, Dino Abdillah, Danny Chia, Pasamet Pogamnerd, Phubodi Sirisilp