Shaaban Hussin, seeking a first win on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour since his victory at PGM Orna Closed Championship 2014 a year ago, blitzed the Kinrara Golf Club course in Puchong today to seize a three-stroke first round lead at the PGM I&P Group Closed Championship.
The 35-year-old from Kedah, who now resides in Kuala Lumpur, fired a flawless eight-under-par 63 in the RM180,000 tournament.
There was a three-way tie for second spot where Airil Rizman, Sukree Othman and Lim Eng Seng all shot 66s on day primed for low scores. M. Sasidaran, who shown flashes of good form recently as he goes about searching a first triumph on Tour, was fifth with a 67, while Khor Kheng Hwai and R. Nachimuthu were another shot back on three-under, joint sixth.
On a layout playing just 6,414 yards and with preferred lies, Shaaban was 31 over the first nine and added a 32 on the back to enjoy a deserved and comfortable lead after the opening day.
“I hit the ball well today,” he said afterwards. “But it was my putting that really helped me go low.
“The course is not playing that long, so if your short irons are good into the greens, as mine were today, they will give many chances at birdie. And what made the difference was that my putting was good too.”
Shaaban, who also said he was still recovering from a shoulder injury that restricted his power play to about 70-80 percent, added that there “is still a long way to go before the tournament finished, so I will just take it one day at a time from here”.
Leading First Round Scores
63 -8 Shaaban Hussin
66 -5 Airil Rizman, Sukree Othman, Lim Eng Seng
67 -4 M. Sasidaran
68 -3 Khor Kheng Hwai, R. Nachimuthu
69 -2 Nicholas Fung, Kemarol Baharin, Kim Leun Kwang, Muhammad Alwarith Damian
70 -1 S. Siva Chandhran, Low Khai Jei (A), Kenneth De Silva, Akhmal Tarmizee, Nazarudin Talib