Pulau Pinang: Malaysia’s Gavin Green rose to the occasion yet again when he fired a five-under-par 67 to grab a share of the first round lead with compatriots Ben Leong, Low Khai Jei, American Josh Salah and Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat at the PGM Bukit Jawi Championship on Wednesday.
Malaysia’s Wilson Choo, who has already won once on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) last year, also kept himself in contention with a 68 which was matched by American Johannes Veerman, India’s Feroz Singh Garewal, Australia’s Nabil Abdul and countryman Khor Kheng Hwai as they settled for a share of sixth place at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) ADT event.
Rated as one of Malaysia’s most promising talents, Green, who was the first amateur to win on the ADT in 2014, did not disappoint as his opening round performance did enough to justify that tag.
Starting on the back-nine 10th, Green fired two birdies in his opening three holes give himself a commanding start at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resorts.
After turning in 34, the 22-year-old picked up another birdie on the par-four first before adding a magical eagle three on six.
“I was feeling very comfortable on the golf course today. I holed several long putts and that was really the key for me,” said Green.
Green, who has already won twice on the ADT this season, believes a hat-trick is a possibility should he continue to retain his composure.
“In fact, I feel that my score could have been even lower than a 67 but I’ll take this first. There’s no need to put more pressure on myself as there are still three more rounds to play,” said Green.
Choo meanwhile is also determined to land another ADT title, having found himself back among the mix.
Starting on the back-nine, Choo started well with an opening birdie before adding another on 18.
He marked his card with further birdies on holes two, four and six. However a bogey-five on three spoilt his otherwise perfect card.
“Overall it was a good round. I hit the ball well and managed to take my chances. I just have to continue doing what I’ve been doing today and the rest can take care by itself,” said Choo.
The ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as the gateway to the premier Asian Tour, will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2017.
Like all other ADT events, the PGM Bukit Jawi Championship will offer OWGR points, which will be key for players vying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading first round scores
67 - Gavin GREEN (MAS), Ben LEONG (MAS), Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA), Josh SALAH (USA), LOW Khai Jei (MAS)
68- Wilson CHOO (MAS), Johannes VEERMAN (USA), Feroz Singh GAREWAL (IND), KHOR Kheng Hwai (MAS), Nabil ABDUL (AUS)
69- Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA), Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN), Darren TAN (AUS), Lexus KEONINH (USA)