Korea’s Jung Min Seo continued her solid form with a superb second round of four-under-par 68, opening up a commanding lead in the girls’ individual event of the 2nd Selangor International Junior Golf Championship.
Jung‘s 36-hole total of six-under-par 138 (70, 68) at Seri Selangor Golf Club gives the 16-year-old a handsome eight-stroke advantage over compatriot Cho Hee Jin (71, 75) with one round to go. Another Korean, Yang Hyo Jin, lies third on three-over-par 147 (71, 76).
“I was teeing off well today and managed to find the fairway most of the time. Almost all my birdies were from close range. I’ll stick to the same gameplan tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes,” said Jung, who is playing for the first time in Malaysia.
The best-placed Malaysian in the ladies’ individual standings is 2023 SEA Games gold medallist Ng Jing Xuen, who lies fourth on four-over-par 148 after consecutive rounds of 74. Ng is tied with Korea’s Song Ji Min and Choi Seung Ah of UUM International School Melaka (UUMISM).
“My ball-striking was okay although my driver was going a bit to the right. The pin positions were tough today, so I need to study the greens and strategize better tomorrow,” said Ng.
The boys’ individual event is a much tighter affair, with Jacob Cajita of the Philippines and Malaysia-based Korean Kang Geon, representing UUMISM, tied for the 36-hole lead on two-under-par 142 after excellent rounds of 67 and 66 respectively.
Having opened his campaign with a 75, Cajita needed something special to get into contention and he did exactly that. The 17-year-old signed in a colourful scorecard with two eagles, five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.
“I just tried to stay as neutral as possible, focusing on each shot and not worrying about anything outside of that. You have to miss it in the right spots here. It’s natural to make mistakes but you have to make good mistakes as much as possible,” said Cajita.
Starting on the back nine, Cajita’s first eagle came at the par-five 13th when he reached the green in two shots with a good drive and a six-iron from 190 yards, followed by a 10-foot putt, He chipped in from 50 feet at the par-five closing hole for his second eagle.
The 14-year-old Kang similarly had a poor start with an opening 76 but was in scintillating form on day two, making six birdies in a blemish-free round.
“It was all about my mindset and I was just out there having some fun. My irons were good, and I was sticking a lot of approach shots close to the pin and making the putts. I need to work on my drives as they were going a little astray, but I think I’ll be able to handle it in round 3” said Kang, who has lived in Malaysia since he was nine.
First round leader Kartik Singh of India shot 74 to lie one shot adrift on one-under-par 143, tied with Filipino Shinichi Suzuki who signed in a solid 69. Having opened with a 69, the 13-year-old Kartik noted that his long game was not on song today.
“I was struggling with anything longer than a nine-iron. My chipping was also not working well, and I didn’t make any ups and downs. But my driving and wedges were good, so at least I managed to make four birdies and keep my score down,” said Kartik.
Another Filipino, Bobe Salahog, is in fifth place on one-over-par 145 (74, 71). Daniel Woz and Aiden Kei Ahmad Shahruddin are the best-placed Malaysians in tied 11th spot on six-over-par 150.
In the boys’ team event, the Philippines team of Cajita, Suzuki, Salahog and Edison Tabalin top the standings with a two-day total of 430, based on the best three out of four daily scores.
They lead by 16 shots over the Korea B team of Han Su Min, Cho Min Young, Park Jae Min and Lee Choeng Am. Malaysia’s Aiden Kei, Woz, Nathan Wong Tsen Jack and Nazran Shahrizan are joint third on 453 with Team Indonesia (F. Nikola Surya Nugraha, Jonathan Manuel Wijanto, Ryan Jovan Wijaya, Galih Ananta Wiranto).
Team Korea B comprising Jung, Cho, Yang and Song opened up a massive 31-shot advantage in the girls’ team event with a 36-hole total of 430. Thailand’s Burasiri Yutiyothin, Chutimon Rujiranan, Aelisa Twiltermsup and Jiranan Lim share a distant second place on 461 with Team UUMISM A comprising Anis Sofea Hamlussalam, Choi Seung Ah, Park Sae Rom and Oh Ye Rim.
The Selangor International Junior Golf Championship is organized by 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.