India’s 13-year-old golf prodigy Kartik Singh and Korea’s Jung Min Seo lead the boys’ and girls’ individual standings respectively following the first round of the 2nd Selangor International Junior Golf Championship.
Raking up five birdies against two bogeys, Kartik stormed to the top of the boys’ individual leaderboard with an impressive three-under-par 69 at the challenging Seri Selangor Golf Club. He leads by three shots from Korean Han Su Min, who carded an even-par 72.
Kartik came to Malaysia directly from Australia after competing in the prestigious Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, where he made the cut and finished T59 in cold and windy conditions.
“The conditions here are certainly very different from Melbourne! It’s much warmer and more humid here, and Royal Melbourne is more of a links course with firm fairways and greens. I’m more used to courses like Seri Selangor, which is similar to the courses I like in India. The greens are softer and the quality is good,” said Kartik, who played in the US Kids Golf Championship in Johor a few years back.
“I played well today. Everything seemed to be working, from my putting to my ball-striking. Hitting the fairways here is important to give yourself birdie chances. I’ll continue to do what I did today in the next two rounds, because it worked,” he added.
Aiden Kei Ahmad Shahruddin shot 74 to be the best-placed Malaysian in joint fifth spot, one stroke behind Korea’s Cho Min Young and Thailand’s Nithhidpong Srichatphirun.
The Korea B team of Han (72), Cho (73), Park Jae Min (76) and Lee Choeng Am (77) combined for a best three out of four total of 221 to lead the boys’ team event, two shots ahead of the Filipino quartet of Bobe Salahog (74), Shinichi Suzuki (74), Jacob Cajita (75) and Edison Tabalin (77). Malaysia’s Aiden Kei (74), Daniel Woz (76), Nathan Wong Wong Tsen Jack (77) and Nazran Shahrizan (82) are third on 227.
Jung meanwhile fired a two-under-par 70 to top the ladies’ individual standings by one shot over compatriots Yang Hyo Jin and Cho Hee Jin, and Thai player Burasiri Yutiyothin.
“My putting and approach play were good today. The course is not long but it’s narrow and has a lot of undulations,” said Jung, who is making her first tournament appearance in Malaysia.
“It’s extremely hot today and I’m really tired, “added the 16-year-old.
The best-placed Malaysian in the ladies’ individual standings is 2023 SEA Games gold medallist Ng Jing Xuen, who lies seventh following an opening 74.
The Korean team of Jung (70), Cho (71), Yang (71) and Song Ji Min (73) raced to an eleven-shot lead in the girls’ team event with a first day total of 212. Thailand’s Burasiri (71), Chutimon Rujiranan (75), Aelisa Twiltermsup (77) and Jiranan Lim (82) are a distant second on 223. The Malaysian national junior golf development team of Wang Xin Yao (77), Andrea Chin Yen Xing (78), Nur Batrisyia Balqis Abdul Ghani (80) and Siti Nurfarah Fasha (82) lie joint third on 235 with Indonesia.
The Selangor International Junior Golf Championship is organized by UUM International School Melaka (UUMISM) in collaboration with the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) and promoted by PKNS Golf Management Services Sdn Bhd. The World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) features a total of 96 players aged between 12 and 18 competing over 54 holes, in separate boys’ (56 players) and girls’ (40 players) divisions.
The international representation includes contingents from South Korea, China, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. The Malaysian challenge meanwhile comprises players from MGA’s national team and national junior development squad, Selangor Sukan Malaysia (SUKMA) players, as well as talents from UUMISM and the PKNS Golf Academy.
Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category while the individual boys’ champion will also earn a start in next week’s PKNS Selangor Masters, an Asian Development Tour event taking place at Seri Selangor as well.
Participants of the SIJGC are fully hosted, with their accommodation, green fees, transport and meals all covered for the duration of the championship. The official hotel is Royal Chulan Damansara, while the practice facilities are located at the nearby Tropicana Golf & Country Resort.
A team from Korea’s SBS Golf TV is producing a championship review show that will be telecast in six countries, namely South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, China and Malaysia. The vast exposure will help promote Selangor as a preferred tourism destination, showcasing the state’s natural beauty and diverse culture as well as the myriad of activities on offer.
Established in 1998, Seri Selangor offers a scenic and challenging 18-hole layout crafted by Australian architect Ross Watson. Featuring tree-lined fairways leading to tricky and slick greens, the course has hosted numerous international events including the Selangor Masters on seven occasions.