Airil Rizman played without any expectations as he fired a three-under-par 69 to grab a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the PGM MNRB Sarawak Championship on Thursday.
The Malaysian posted five birdies for an eight-under-par 136 total to lead from countryman R. Nachimuthu and Frenchman Erwan Vieilledent, who returned on matching 68s at the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Nils Floren of Sweden, Casey O’Toole of the United States and local talent Mohd Amli Mohiyadeen are a further shot back in tied fourth position at the Kelab Golf Sarawak. Co-overnight leader Paul Donahoo of Australia slipped to tied 10th place following a 74.
Airil, who won on the Asian Tour at the 2007 Pakistan Open, took part in an intensive mental course with Jon Stabler, the co-founder of GolfPsych Training Programme two weeks ago, and the results are beginning to show.
“I went through this mental exercise and the one thing they found out was that I think too much! So now I play without any expectations but I go through the motions and stick to my game plan. The results are showing quite nicely,” said Airil.
The 37-year-old Airil has won multiple titles on the PGM Tour including the Order of Merit last year but has yet to taste success on the ADT, which is the gateway to the Asian Tour.
“I have not won on the ADT yet but I’m having a good tournament so far. The golf course has been kind to me and everything has been going to plan. I still have two more days to go so hopefully I can maintain my momentum,” he added.
A total of 57 players progressed into the final two days as the halfway cut was set at two-over-par 146.
Since it was inaugurated as a gateway to the Asian Tour in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in both 2014 and 2015.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading second round scores:
136 – Airil Rizman ZAHARI (MAS) 67 69
137 – Erwan VIEILLEDENT (FRA) 69 68, R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 69 68
138 – Nils FLOREN (SWE) 70 68, Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 70 68, Mohd Amli MOHIYADEEN (MAS) 69 69
139 – Janne KASKE (FIN) 72 67
140 – Wilson CHOO (MAS) 68 72, Tyler EKENBERG (USA) 73 67
141 – Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 73 68, Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 70 71, HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE) 73 68, M. Sasidaran (MAS) 69 72, KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 72 69, Ratchapol JANTAVARA (THA) 71 70, Paul DONAHOO (AUS) 67 74, Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) 68 73, Rizal AMIN (MAS) 70 71, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 72 69
142 – Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 69 73, Jake STIRLING (AUS) 70 72, CHOO Tze Huang (SIN) 72 70, Blake SNYDER (USA) 73 69, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 70 72, Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 70 72
143 – Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) 72 71, Paul HARRIS (USA) 71 72, Annop TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 70 73, Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 69 74, Brett MUNSON (USA) 72 71, Kemarol BAHARIN (MAS) 71 72