Kuala Lumpur, April 12: Local hotshot Nicholas Fung battled against a strained right arm to sign for an opening five-under-par 66, grabbing a share of the clubhouse lead with Koh Deng Shan of Singapore at the weather-disrupted PGM UMW Championship on Wednesday.
The leading duo, who played in the morning, secured a one-shot advantage over Scott Barr of Australia, Japan’s Masaru Takahashi, Steve Lewton of England and American Roberto Galletti at the RM200,000 (approx. US$44,600) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Play was suspended at 5.03pm local time due to lightning threats before being abandoned for the day an hour later due to heavy rain. A total of 48 players will resume their rounds at 7.30am on Thursday morning with the second round scheduled to start at 8am.
Fung, the 2013 ADT Order of Merit champion, had contemplated pulling out before the start of his round at the TPC Kuala Lumpur’s east course after failing to shake off a persistent muscle pain in his right arm, which he incurred during his practice a week ago.
“I am very happy with how I played, considering my arm injury. I went to see a physiotherapist two days ago but have yet to recover. I wanted to pull out this morning as it has been really painful for the last two days. But I told myself to just go out and play. I thought I should be fine as long as I don’t hit it too hard,” said Fung, who fired seven birdies against two bogeys.
“I hit the ball good and I was able to make putts. Nothing stood out really. Everything went well for me. I was able to hit it close. My iron-play was good. This is a course where everybody can score. The aim is to not make any bogeys, we will see how it goes,” added the 26-year-old Malaysian.
Koh, who is chasing for a breakthrough victory, credited his solid drives for a commendable start to his campaign.
“I hit the ball really good today. I hit 16 greens in total. I missed a few putts out there but overall, I played solid. I was able to keep the ball in play. You got to hit a lot of fairways to give yourself chances to make birdies out there,” said the 28-year-old Singaporean.
Starting from the 10, Koh birdied two of his opening three holes before stumbling with his only bogey of the day on 13.
He recovered brilliantly with a chip-in birdie on 14 and picked up three more birdies on his way home to put himself in a share of the clubhouse lead at the PGM UMW Championship.
“I failed to get up and down on 13 but I managed to bounce back with a chip-in birdie on 14. I hit it short of the green and had to chip uphill from about 10 metres at the side of a bunker. I had a good confidence boost there and managed to regain my momentum.
“The plan is to keep things simple. I will keep doing what I have been doing. Nothing changes,” added Koh.
The top-five finishers on the final Order of Merit will secure their Asian Tour cards for 2018.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading first round scores:
66 - KOH Deng Shan (SGP) , Nicholas FUNG (MAS)
67 - Roberto GALLETTI (USA) , Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) , Scott BARR (AUS) , Steve LEWTON (ENG)
68 - Shariffuddin ARIFFIN (MAS) , Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) , Sukree OTHMAN (MAS)
69 - Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) , Martin DIVE (AUS) , LOW Khai Jei (MAS) , Chanat SAKULPOLPHAISAN (THA) , Ian ANDREW (INA) , Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) , Mitchell SLORACH (SGP) , Charng-Tai SUDSOM (THA) , George GANDRANATA (INA) , Kento NAKAI (JPN)
70 - K P LIN (TWN) , Gavin GREEN (MAS) , Rizal AMIN (MAS) , Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) , Jarin TODD (USA) , James BOWEN (USA) , TAN Chien Hau (MAS) , Hans JAMIL (MAS) , S. Siva Chandhran (MAS) , Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA)
71 - Narutoshi YAMAOKA (JPN) , CHAN Tuck-soon (A) (MAS) , Lion GOH (MAS) , HSU Hao-sheng (TPE) , Brett MUNSON (USA) , Nick SHERWOOD (USA) , Phanuvich ONCHU (THA) , Mohd Amli MOHIYADEEN (MAS)
About Asian Development Tour
The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.