Khor Kheng Hwai, who achieved a breakthrough win on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour this season, seized the lead at the halfway stage of the RM275,000 Maybank Players Championship today.
Winner in his home state of Penang in September and runner-up at last week’s Darulaman Closed Championship, Khor fired a five-under 66 to lead the season-ending event by two strokes.
The 31-year-old’s effort today took him to seven-under for the tournament with a 135 total, while young gun Irfan stated his intentions as he moved into second place on the leaderboard.
Irfan, who also marked his season with a breakthrough win – claiming the Impian Closed Championship in early October – shot a two-under 69 for a 137 total.
Kemarol Baharin, a multiple winner on Tour, signed for a 70 and shared third place with Abel Tam, who carded a three-under 68, and Mohamad Azman Basharudin, who had a four-under 67. They were on four-under 138.
Twenty-one year-old Irfan said he was happy with his performance so far and would attempt to continue with it, although he was not getting “carried away” with his lofty position on the leaderboard.
“There is still a long way to go as we are only halfway through the tournament,” said Irfan. “But I am happy that I have shown some good form early on. I’ll just try to carry on with it.”
Tam, still seeking a first victory on Tour after turning pro in the first quarter of last year, said he too was pleased with his form in the event.
“I’ve been playing better recently and that it because of some of the work that I’ve put in at training,” he noted.
Turning to the course, which he descried as being in “good condition”, Tam added: “In my opinion it’s playing rather tough. The rough is quite penal so the plan is to stay in the fairway.
“So far as my game is concerned I’m hitting the ball solidly and making a few putts, so that is nice,” he said.
The Maybank Players Championship is the Tour’s biggest and richest event, and brings the season to a close. The tournament comes to an end on Saturday.
Leading First Round Scores
135 Khor Kheng Hwai 69-66
137 Irfan Yusoff 68-69
138 Mohamad Azman Basharudin 71-67, Abel Tam 70-68, Kemarol Baharin 68-70
139 Lim Eng Seng 70-69
140 R. Nachimuthu 73-67, Ben Leong 71-69
141 Sukree Othman 72-69, Lam Yu Shuen 70-71
142 Iylia Jamil 74-68
143 M. Rizal Amin 76-67, Gavin Green 73-70 , Alex Tiong 72-71
144 Wilson Choo 76-68, Rashid Ismail 75-69, Lion Goh 73-71, Shahizul Ahmad 70-74