Kim seizes clubhouse lead at TPC KL

Kuala Lumpur, April 13: Korean-American Sihwan Kim charged to the top of the leaderboard after posting a brilliant second round nine-under-par 62, claiming a one-shot clubhouse lead at the weather-disrupted PGM UMW Championship on Thursday.

Starting the round with an eight-shot deficit, Kim fired one eagle and eight birdies against a bogey to sign for the lowest round of the day and a six-under-par 136 total at the RM200,000 (approx. US$44,600) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Local young talent Daeng Abdul Rahman and Japan’s Narutoshi Yamoaka signed for matching 66s to share second place while Indonesia’s George Gandranata (69), Malaysia’s Ben Leong (67) and American Roberto Galletti (71) sit two shots off the pace on 138.

Play was suspended at 4.44pm local time due to lightning threats. It was called off for the day an hour later as inclement weather made it impossible to resume play at the TPC Kuala Lumpur’s east course.

A total of 52 players, including overnight leaders Nicholas Fung of Malaysia and Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan, will resume their rounds at 7.30am on Friday with the penultimate round scheduled to start not earlier than 10.30am.

The 28-year-old Kim, who came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, rode on a red-hot putter as he nailed seven birdies and one eagle in 10 holes from the fourth after a birdie-bogey start.

Kim has enjoyed two top-10 results on the Asian Tour so far this season. He is playing in his first event on the ADT, which was launched as gateway to the premier Asian Tour in 2010.

“I putted a lot better than I did yesterday. That was the key for me. I made a lot of putts and that gave me a lot of confidence. I hit a two-iron to within 12 feet and holed my eagle putt from right to left on the par-five 12. That was the highlight today,” said Kim.

“I just tried to stay cool out there as the weather was really hot. I haven’t played here before coming over this week. The course looks great but it can be challenging if you don’t keep your ball in play,” added Kim.

Daeng Abdul Rahman

Daeng Abdul Rahman of Malaysia

Newly-turned professional Daeng, who traded six birdies against one bogey, regained the trust in his driver to put himself in a good position for a maiden ADT win heading into the weekend rounds.

“I drove the ball a lot better. I only had one errant drive on 12 which resulted in a bogey. Other than that, it was a great round for me. You need to hit the ball good to score on this course. It is a short course. If you can hit the fairways, you can easily make birdies from there,” said Daeng.

The 17-year-old Malaysian made the headlines when he claimed his first professional win on the local circuit in early April, just a month after joining the play-for-pay ranks. He has also enjoyed a top-10 finish on the ADT since.

“I have been working on my fitness. I go to the gym every week. I know it’s very important to stay fit as a professional golfer. I will continue to focus on my tee shots in the next two rounds and try to go as low as I can,” Daeng added.

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Leading second round scores:

136 – Sihwan KIM (USA) 74-62

137 – Daeng Abdul Rahman (MAS) 71-66, Narutoshi YAMAOKA (JPN) 71-66

138 – George GANDRANATA (INA) 69-69, Ben LEONG (MAS) 71-67, Roberto GALLETTI (USA) 67-71

139 – Kento NAKAI (JPN) 69-70, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 68-71, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 70-69, Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) 72-67, Johnson POH (SGP) 69-70

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 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.