Shahriffuddin fires 64 to snatch opening honours at PGM MNRB

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Malaysia’s Shahriffudin Ariffin got off to a flying start when he fired a sizzling eight-under-par 64 to take the opening round lead at the PGM MNRB Championship on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Shahriffuddin, who claimed his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) win in Labuan last month, mixed his card with seven birdies, one bogey and an eagle, to lead by two shots at the RM225,000 (approx. US$58,000) event held at Damai Golf and Country Club.

American Tarik Can posted a 66 to take second place while Malaysia’s Amir Nazrin and Airil Rizman Zahari together with Justin De Los Santos of the United States sit in third place on matching 67s.

Shahriffuddin fired five birdies in his first nine holes for an outward 31. He grabbed two more birdies before dropping a shot on hole 15 when he made his first three-putt. He recovered brilliantly with an eagle on hole 17 for an inward 33.

“I played really well today. The key was to commit to my swing and just swing freely. I also putted really well and made some good saves. Most of my birdies were short putts because I was striking it well today,” said Shahriffudin who only needed 27 putts.

“I started out well and finished out well with an eagle on hole 17. I had about 221 meters and hit a solid shot into the green before I drained my eagle putt from 18-feet,” added Shariffudin.

Taking advantage of the calm conditions in the morning, the 33-year-old Can relied on his solid ball striking to trade seven birdies against one bogey.

“I was the first group out and I just took advantage of the calm conditions to give myself as many opportunities as I could. I was hitting it well today and I think I made nine greens in a row on the first nine holes,” said Can.

“The only mistake I made was on hole 15 when I missed the green to the right and missed my par putt. But other than that, everything was great today,” added Can, who resides in Florida, USA.

American Seungjae Maeng also stole the show when he scored his first ever ace on the fifth hole with his four-iron from 206-yards.

“I was pretty surprised about it I thought I hit it a little too long since I clubbed up. I was looking around behind the green until someone told me the ball was in the hole. It’s a great feeling,” said the 24-year-old Maeng who carded a 68 to take a share of sixth place after the first round.

The winner of the PGM MNRB Championship will receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points while the leading six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

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