Photo - Asian Tour
Iain Steel In The Lead After Stunning First Round Of Six-Under-Par 65 At The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia – National Qualifier
Due to unforgiving weather, the first round of the inaugural CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia – National Qualifier was suspended, leaving 54 players hanging and rearing to complete their respective rounds.
Play was delayed for an hour but continued shortly after the thunderstorm subsided. Despite weather interruptions, none of the players managed to surpass Iain Steel’s round of six-under-par 65 at the Mines Resort & Golf Club, today.
The 39-year old marked a bogey-free round on his scorecard, concluding with six birdies, to lead a playing field of 117 local professional golfers.
“I think I could have shot 60 but I missed a lot of putts that were under 10-feet,” said Steel, who is an Asian Tour regular.
He also added that his participation in four tournaments within the last five weeks and extra coaching have helped boost his game as well as his confidence.
Coming off an impressive result of tied 10th at the recent Queen’s Cup in Koh Samui, Steel was in top form to lead the likes of Danny Chia, S Sivachandran, Ben Leong and Airil Rizman.
Airil found his rhythm after resuming play to card a four-under-par 67 and is currently tied for second.
“The rain made the course longer. Of course the course is tricky and the putts are longer but I missed a couple which I thought I could have sunk,” said Airil.
Joining the 32-year old in tied second is Mohd Shaaban Hussin, whose round was disrupted because of the weather delay.
“I lost momentum due to the rain but so far so good. Today I carded gross 67, tomorrow I’m hoping for a 66 and hopefully the third day I’ll get a 65 because I really, really want to qualify,” said an excited Shaaban.
Crowd favorite, Chia, was disappointed with his round when his ball found water on the par four, fourth hole.
“I wasn’t hitting the iron well and I got a triple bogey on the fourth. It’s a challenging course, and it was a bad mistake on my part. I drove it into the fairway and it pulled into the water,” commented the 37-year old that is currently tied for fourth alongside Sivachandran and M.Sasidaran with three-under-par 68.
The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia – National Qualifier is sanctioned by the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM). This closed 54-hole tournament will see more than 100 professional golfers under the PGAM compete over a three-day period at the Mines Resort & Golf Club. A cut will ensure after 36 holes of play with 60 players plus ties competing in the final round. The tournament will see the top Malaysian professional golfers competing for a RM150, 000 prize purse with the winner taking RM22, 000 plus a spot at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia from 28 to 31 October.
The top 25 available players from the PGA TOUR’s final FedExCup standings will qualify for the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia. They will be joined by the top-10 players from the current Asian Tour Order of Merit and five players under sponsor exemptions to complete one of the strongest playing fields in Asia’s golf circuit.