Pre-tournament favourite Ervin Chang did not disappoint when he chalked up a one-stroke lead in the Alphard Cup, shooting a commendable five-under 67 in the first round at the Kota Seriemas Golf & Country Club here today.
The 24-year-old Toyota Tour leading money earner who teed off from the back nine, had a flawless, bogey-free round and notched birdies on the 1st, 3rd, 11th, 13th and 14th holes. But the race to the finish line won’t be easy, as only four strokes separate the leader from the 15th placing.
One stroke behind Chang are Khor Kheng Hwai, Kenneth De Silva and Galven Green who also produced a clean scorecard. “Boy, it was hot out there,” exclaimed Green who played in the same group with Chang and Shahriffuddin Ariffin.
Chang wasn’t too happy with his shot-making but couldn’t complain after returning the round’s best score. He was quite excited about a near hole-in-one though, which happened at the short par three 14th. “I used a wedge and the ball actually landed in the hole and jumped out,” said Chang.
A further stroke behind were Kenneth Tobuse, Shaifubari Muda and Camry Cup champion Daeng Abdul Rahman.
“The course is in great shape, the greens fast and receptive,” said Daeng who carded an eagle, two birdies and a lone bogey. “My game in general is pretty good and I gave myself many looks at birdies. I could have gone six or seven under if my putting was better.”
Veteran Shaifubari couldn’t hide his satisfaction, after his 69 which puts him just two shots behind the leader. “I played smartly, keep the ball on the fairways and tried to make as many greens as possible. The course is in excellent condition. I’ll stick to the same gameplan for tomorrow’s second round.”
The Alphard Cup is the penultimate leg on the Toyota Tour organised by the Professional Golf Malaysia and delivered by MST Golf Group. The season-ending ADT Toyota Tour Championship will be held at the Saujana GCC from Nov 15-18.
Meanwhile, Geraldine Wong continued from where she left off when she carded a two-under 70 to lead the Ladies Championship by three shots from Order of Merit leader Aretha Pan.
The Camry Cup Ladies winner at Forest City two weeks ago scored four birdies against two bogeys but felt that her game was moving in the right direction. In particular she was happy with her approach shots.
“I gave myself quite a few birdie opportunities so I’m rather pleased with that,” said Wong. “It could have been better had I holed some of them but, I still have two more rounds to go.”
A further stroke behind was Genevieve Ling followed by Jocelyn Chee and Lana Aswadi who shared fourth position at three-over 75.
The 54-hole competition ends on Thursday afternoon.
Kota Seriemas GCC is part of the 2,400-acre Seriemas township developed by Seriemas Development Sendirian Berhad which is a subsidiary of PNB Development Sdn Bhd.
67 (-5) Ervin Chang
68 (-4) Khor Kheng Hwai, Galven Green, Kenneth De Silva
69 (-3) Shaifubari Muda, Daeng Abdul Rahman, Kenneth Tobuse
70 (-2) Zurie Harun, Jonathan Wong, Lim Leun Kwang
71 (-1) Paul San, Daniel Faridz, Shahriffuddin Ariffin, Edven Ying, Rizal Amin, Lee Chong Li
70 (-2) Geraldine Wong
73 (+1) Aretha Pan
74 (+2) Genevieve Ling
75 (+3) Jocelyn Chee, Lana Aswadi