Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s R. Nachimuthu fired a blistering eight-under-par 64 to snatch the first round lead in the PGM-CCM-Impian Masters in the season-opener of the Asian Development Tour on Thursday.
The local stalwart, who won three domestic titles en route to lifting the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour Order of Merit title last season, posted a bogey-free card at the Impian Golf and Country Club on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
Fellow Malaysian Lim Eng Seng returned a fine 65 to ensure a strong local presence on the leaderboard while in-form Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat, who won his third Asian Tour title at the ICTSI Philippine Open last month, and Australian Glenn Joyner carded identical 66s in the RM180,000 (approximately US$60,000) event.
Nachimuthu was delighted to seize the honours on day one as he launched his bid for a first Asian Development Tour victory.
“I putted really good and hit a lot of fairways and greens,” said Nachimuthu.
With the lift-and-clean ruling in effect following a morning downpour, Nachimuthu got his iron play working effectively as all his birdies were from inside the 10-feet range.
“The course conditions were good for scoring. I made birdies on all the par fives and all the putts were from within close range. I’m playing against the golf course and I’m not worried about the players in the field. I’m just focusing on my own game,” he said.
Lim, a former Malaysian national amateur player, was also flawless as he snared seven birdies. After turning in 34, his game caught fire with four straight birdies from the 11th hole as he ensured a brilliant start to his campaign.
Mardan and Joyner were also bogey-free as they shot six birdies each while American Dodge Kemmer and England’s Neil Reilly shot 67s for a share of fifth place. Filipino Jay Bayron and Malaysia’s Danny Chia were amongst those bunched on 68.
Leading first round scores
64: R. Nachimuthu (MAS)
65: LIM Eng-Seng (MAS)
66: Mardan MAMAT (SIN), Glenn JOYNER (AUS)
67: Dodge KEMMER (USA), Neil REILLY (ENG)
68: Anthony CHOAT (AUS), Senroku ISA (JPN), Anis HASSAN (MAS), Jay BAYRON (PHI), Danny CHIA (MAS), Kemarol Baharin (MAS), Gerald ROSALES (PHI) , Airil Rizman (MAS)