KENNETH DE SILVA and Mohd Amli Mohiyadeen led a tight leaderboard after shooting identical one-over par 73s on the opening day of the National Qualifiers for the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) today.
They are one stroke ahead of three other golfers, and two in front of another six players after the first round on the West Course.
With only four precious qualifying spots available from this tournament, the 49 Malaysian golfers upped the ante at the challenging KLGCC West Course, which will also host the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014 from April 17-20.
Kenneth, who began from the 10th tee, found the going tough in the beginning as he faltered to a three-over after 13 holes. He, however, shot birdies on the fifth and sixth holes to share the lead with Mohd Amli.
“It was tough out there, as it always is on this course,” said Kenneth.
“I’m determined to hold on to my position as I had a taste of the Maybank Malaysian Open last year and I want to rub shoulders with the big boys once again.
“Last year, I was selected by GlobalOne as one of their invites to play in the tournament and it was a great experience.
“It helped my game a lot and this year, I hope to be among the four qualifiers.”
Mohd Amli, meanwhile, shot even par on the back nine before dropping a shot on the way in, despite a fantastic eagle on the par-four eighth hole.
Maybank chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor, said: “I anticipate a tough battle on the final day.
These are the best golfers in the country and every single one of them will be determined to compete in the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014.
“I’m sure the golfers will leave no stones unturned in their quest of qualifying for this prestigious event and join the other Malaysians who have already made it through.
“Over the years, the Maybank Malaysian Open has evolved into one of the leading events in this part of the world due the excellent teamwork and relationship between Maybank and all the other stake holders involved in the event.”
He added this relationship has gone a long way in ensuring the immense success of the Malaysian Open. The level of excellence the event has attained is the reason world class stars continue to make their way to our shores each year.
Last year, Sasidaran Muthiah, Kemarol Baharin, Mohd Hanafiah Mohd Jamil and P.Gunasegaran claimed the coveted slots by finishing among the top four in the qualifiers.
Kemarol is within striking distance of the leader after shooting a 74, to lie joint second with Tommy Chin and Rahizam Ramli.
Zen Dharmaratne, Lam Kong Long, Chong Chee Ming, Mohamad Irfan Yusoff, Wilson Choo, Jeremiah Kim and Dino Abdillah are a further shot behind.
“It was a tough day as the weather was scorching hot,” said former Malaysian Open Junior champion Jeremiah Kim.
“I’m happy to be in touch with the leaders and will have to stay focus for tomorrow’s final round.
“It is our dream to play in such a prestigious tournament and I hope to be among the top four tomorrow.”
The four qualifiers from this tournament will join Nicholas Fung, R. Nachimuthu, Arie Fauzi, Rizal Amin, Airil Rizman, Sukree Othman, Iylia Jamil, Khor Kheng Hwai, Shaifubari Muda, Danny Chia, Shaaban Hussin, Iain Steel, S. Murthy, S. Siva Chandhran, Gavin Kyle Green, Ervin Chang and Solomon Emilio Rosidin, who have already confirmed their places.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) president Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor praised the leaders, who had to battle the elements and each other to stay in front.
“The players showed genuine courage in adversity as they did battle to reach the top of the leader board.
“It was an exciting day and I’m anticipating a big showdown tomorrow. May the best men win their tickets to the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014.”
Leading first round scores (Par 72)
73: Mohd Amli Mohiyadee, Kenneth De Silva
74: Kemarol Baharin, Tommy Chin, Rahizam Ramli
75: Zen Dharmaratne, Lam Kong Long, Chong Chee Ming, Mohamad Irfan Yusoff, Wilson Choo, Jeremiah Kim
76: Dino Abdillah, Danial Ng, Akhmal Tarmizie, Nazri Mohd Zain, Ben Leong
77: Fadzlan Farouk, Mohd Farid Abdul Rashid, V. Arumugam, P. Gunasagaran, Hans Jamil