Nachimuthu fired a five-under 66 to take the third round lead in the last tournament of the season – the RM275,000 Maybank Players Championship at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club today.
A multiple winner on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour, the last coming at the Kelantan Closed Championship in March, Nachimuthu stumbled to a double-bogey at the 3rd hole before coming back in fine style to seize the lead with seven birdies and set himself up with a two-stroke cushion at the top of the leaderboard.
Nachimuthu moved to seven-under 206 for the season-ending event, a couple of shots ahead of Gavin Green, who himself only turned pro in the middle of the year and won at Danau at the end of October.
Green carded the low round of the day, a 65 that had a bogey and seven birdies in it, and which left him on 208.
Three shots off the lead was a five-way tie for third place, where all of Ben Leong (69), Lim Eng Seng (70), Abel Tam (71), Mohamad Azman Basharudin (71) and Khor Kheng Hwai (74) were bunched on four-under 209.
Rizal Amin signed for a workman-like four-under 67 and Lam Yu Shuen came back with a 69 that had them joint eighth on 210.
Understandably pleased with his showing, more so having to fight back after the early setback, Nachimuthu said: “After starting with two pars I hit one into the water at the 3rd and ended up with a double-bogey. But I kept at it and steadied things before making the turn at one-under with birdies at holes 4, 6 and 8.
“Then, on the back nine I didn’t give any shots away and managed four more birdies, which was very satisfying after the start I had,” said Nachimuthu.
Turning to his game, he added: “I hit the ball well yesterday and the day before, and last week too, but the putts weren’t falling.
“Today they did and it made the difference. I putted much better and it showed. It was also good because the greens here have been tough to deal with this week – they’re firm and tricky.”
The Maybank Players Championship is the Tour’s biggest and richest event, and will bring the season to a close when the tournament comes to an end tomorrow.
Leading Third Round Scores
206 -7 R. Nachimuthu 73-67-66
208 -5 Gavin Green 73-70-65
209 -4 Ben Leong 71-69-69, Lim Eng Seng 70-69-70, Mohamad Azman Basharudin 71-67-71, Abel Tam 70-68-71, Khor Kheng Hwai 69-66-74
210 -3 M. Rizal Amin 76-67-67, Lam Yu Shuen 70-71-69
213 E Sukree Othman 72-69-72, Kemarol Baharin 68-70-75
214 +1 M. Sasidaran 73-73-68, Iylia Jamil 74-68-72, Lion Goh 73-71-73
218 +5 P. Gunasagaran 73-73-72, Akhmal Tarmizee 70-75-73, Irfan Yusoff 68-69-81