The country’s top-ranked amateur player Low Khai Jei fired an impressive six-under 66 to take the outright lead of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s Orna Closed Championship in Melaka today.
The 19-year-old, who already has a tie for third on the Tour, yet says he is in no hurry to turn pro, moved to 11-under 205 after the third round at Orna Golf & Country Club.
Leaving seasoned pros in his wake, Khai Jei admitted that he was “a bit nervous” about leading the RM180,000 event with a day to go.
“I haven’t been in a situation like this before (in a pro tournament) so I am a bit nervous,” he said. “But I will try to just play my normal game tomorrow and see what happens.”
Khai Jei’s six-under round came courtesy of an even-par first nine, followed by a birdie blitz over the homeward stretch, during which he was flawless and strung together five straight birdies from Holes 10-14, before adding another at the 17th hole.
“At one stage I was five shots behind, but over the back nine I got into a groove where I felt really comfortable with my swing and putted okay too.
“Hopefully I can continue with it again tomorrow and play a steady game,” he added.
Khai Jei’s effort left him three shots clear of overnight leader Nicholas Fung, with whom he will play in the last group tomorrow, alongside Khor Kheng Hwai.
Fung carded a one-under 71 that had him on 208 in second spot, while Khor had a 70 for a 209 total in third place.
Wilson Choo (69) was fourth on six-under 210. Mohd Amli signed for the low round of the tournament so far, when he came home with an eight-under 64. That outstanding performance, which would have been a new course had it not been for preferred lies, propelled him to five-under 211 and joint fifth place with Ben Leong (71).
The player, who will soon turn 30 and has a top-5 finish as his best showing on Tour, said he just “hit the ball very well and putted very well.”
“That’s how it happens some day – everything you go for goes in. It was an enjoyable experience and I’ll try to do more of the same tomorrow,” added Amli, who said he turned pro in 2010.
Leading Third Round Scores
205 Low Khai Jei (A) 69-70-66
208 Nicholas Fung 68-69-71
209 Khor Kheng Hwai 70-69-70
210 Wilson Choo 68-73-69
211 Mohd Amli 76-71-64, Ben Leong 70-70-71
213 Shaifubari Muda 70-73-70
214 Kim Leun Kwang 73-71-70
215 Lam Yu Shuen 67-73-75
217 Airil Rizman 73-76-68, Akhmal Tarmizee 68-76-73, Lim Eng Seng 72-71-75
219 Keegan Kam 74-74-71, Lam Kong Loong 75-71-73
220 P. Gunasagaran 75-72-73, R. Nachimuthu 72-74-74, Sukree Othman 71-73-76, Kenneth Tobuse 69-75-76
221 M. Sasidaran 71-70-80