Diminutive S. Siva Chandhran scorched the greens on a damp Royal Perak Golf Club course when he posted a six-under 66 to lead the inaugural Corolla Cup by two strokes here today.
The 44-year-old professional, who calls himself a “weekend golfer”, signed in a clean scorecard that showed six birdies without a bogey and leads veteran Danny Chia who also posted six birdies but was stalled by two bogeys.
Another veteran, Airil Rizman whose lone victory on the Asian Tour was the Pakistan Masters in 2007, shared third place with amateur Marcus Lim, the recent men’s champion in the TSM Golf Challenge. Meanwhile Geraldine Wong played par golf to lead Aretha Pan and amateurs Winnie Ng and Ng Jing Xuen by one stroke in the Ladies championship.
A total of 78 players teed off in the Corolla Cup, the fifth leg of the Toyota Tour presented by UMW Toyota Motor with MST Golf Group the Delivery Agency.
Siva started off on the back nine and birdied the 11th, 16th and 18th holes. He added two more immediately after crossing over. When he notched his sixth birdie, on the par-four seventh, he knew he would be coming off a great score.
“On my last hole, I had an 8-iron in my hand for my approach shot and I could feel my adrenaline was pumping sky-high. I felt I might carry the green, so I calmed myself and hit a softer shot which ended up pin high. I left the birdie putt by three inches,” said Siva.
Siva thinks he is probably the shortest off the tee in the field today, maybe driving to just over 250 yards. “The long hitters can reach that distance with their rescue woods,” he laughed. But Siva showed today that while length helps, you need an all-round game to play good golf. He missed only three fairways and five greens, underlining his mastery in the short game.
“Yes, I was pleasantly surprised with my score today, bearing in mind that I’m just a weekend golfer.” He explained that he works full-time with a construction company in Batu Kawan on Penang island. He travels daily to and fro to work from his home in Sungai Petani.
“I only get to play on Saturday afternoons with some friends and on Sunday mornings I teach a couple of boys,” said Siva whose previous event in the Toyota Tour was at the Tun Ahmad Sarji Trophy at Saujana GCC in March.
The former amateur champion has represented Malaysia in the Sea Games, Asian Games, Putra Cup and Eisenhower Trophy where he finished joint 8th with England in the team event alongside Sukree Othman and Ben Leong, both of whom are also playing the Corolla Cup.
Leading the home challenge is Shanizam Mohagi, the resident professional at Royal Perak. He started off on the back nine and crossed over at three-under par. Another birdie on the second hole put him well in control for a good finish. However, a weak tee-shot at the par 3 third, which he reckoned was almost a shank, hit him for a double bogey. He managed to par home and is lying in joint fifth, four strokes behind the leader.
The Corolla Cup continues with the second round tomorrow and ends on Thursday.
66 (-6) S. Siva Chandhran
68 (-4) Danny Chia
69 (-3) Airil Rizman, Marcus Lim (am)
70 (-2) Shahnizam Mohagi, Rizq Adam Rohizam (am), Kim Leung Kwang
71 (-1) Muhazim Bakhtiar, Kemarol Baharin, Fakhrul Akmal, Zurie Harun
72 (E) Khor Kheng Hwai, Wafiyuddin Manaf, Chan Soo Keong, Azlan Fauzy, Nateeshvar Ganesh (am), Edven Ying
72 (E) Geraldine Wong,
73 (+1) Winnie Ng (am), Aretha Pan, Ng Jing Xuen (am)
74 (+2) Jocelyn Chee, Allycia Gan (am)
78 (+4) Nur Afifah Razif (am)
79 (+6) Ainil Johani Bakar