Seri Kembangan, Selangor - The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia - National Qualifier at The MINES Resort & Golf Club got off to an absorbing start today with a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard.
The three-day event will determine one of two local players who will make the grade for the select 48 at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia, to be played at the same venue from October 27-30. The other will be the highest placed in the world rankings.
Leading the way after the first round was S. Murthy, M. Sasidaran, Nicholas Fung and Shaaban Hussin, all of whom negotiated the par-71 course with 3-under 68s.
Played in partly cloudy and overcast conditions but without much wind, the first day featured a tight scramble at the top, where no fewer than three strokes separated the top-14 players.
Akhmal Tarmizee, Md Rashid Ismail and S. Sivachandran were tied on 2-under-par 69, while Wilson Choi, Lim Eng Seng and R. Nachimuthu were two strokes off the pace on 70.
Sivachandran, a winner in Melaka of a co-sanctioned Asean Development Tour event this season, said he was pleased with his efforts of the opening round but hastened to point out the “course played tough as usual”.
“The MINES always plays tough,” said Sivachandran, “but today it was made more difficult because the fairways were wet and the ball did not run that much.
“Still, I am happy with the way things went as this is the first day. And I know I will need to make sure of shooting low over the next two rounds if I am going to achieve what I set out to do here and that is qualify for the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia next month.”
Speaking of the event, Mohd Firuz Jaffril, President of the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM), said they were happy with the huge number of players who turned up to try and make a bid for the two slots.
“A field of almost 90 pros came to The MINES with the intention of having a shot at qualifying and that shows that we have some substance in our ranks. This is most encouraging and it also shows just what the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia means to them,” he added.
At the inaugural event last year, Shaaban was Malaysia’s sole representative, having topped the qualifiers and for his week’s work, he collected US$50,000.
The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia – National Qualifier is sanctioned by the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM). In this closed 54-hole tournament the top Malaysian professional golfers are competing for a RM150,000 prize purse with the winner taking home RM22,000 plus a spot at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic.
This season’s event will feature a field of 48, with 30 players drawn from the final FedExCup standings, along with Major championship winners Stewart Cink and Angel Cabrera, and defending champion Ben Crane, who have already confirmed their participation through sponsors’ exemptions.