American Josh Salah showed great resolve of redeeming himself when he fired a five-under-par 67 to take the first round lead at the PGM Darulaman Championship on Wednesday.
The American missed the cut in Chinese Taipei last week but was quick to erase that setback with a commanding performance at the RM200,000 (approximately US$44,600) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Salah marked his card with six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot advantage over compatriots Brett Munson, James Bowen and China’s Liu Yan-wei at the Darulaman Golf and Country Club.
Malaysia’s Leunkwang Kim and R. Nachimuthu were the highest placed locals in tied-fifth place after they posted matching 69s at the opening day of the ADT event which is jointly sanctioned with the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM).
“It was a good round and a big confident booster especially having missed the cut in Taipei last week. I’m happy with how I’ve played today and hopefully this good form continues for the rest of the week,” said Salah.
Starting on the back-nine 10, Salah posted three birdies on holes 12, 16 and 17 to turn in 33.
The American, who earned his maiden ADT breakthrough in Malaysia early last year, extended his lead with another pair of birdies on the first and second holes before dropping a shot on the par-three three.
Salah recovered quickly with another birdie on the following fourth hole before five straight pars saw him cruised home comfortably with an inward 34.
“My ball striking was good today and I putted well too. With all these combinations, I was really feeling very comfortable and playing good golf out there,” said Salah.
The PGM Darulaman Championship, by featuring on the ADT calendar, receives Official World Golf Ranking status, with the winner receiving a minimum of six points and the top-six players and ties earning points on a sliding scale.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading first round scores
67 – Josh SALAH (USA)
68 – Brett MUNSON (USA), James BOWEN (USA), LIU Yan-wei (CHN)
69 – Leunkwang KIM (MAS), Chanat SAKULPOLPHAISAN (THA), Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA), R. Nachimuthu (MAS),
70 – Irfan YUSOFF (70), Jonathan WONG (MAS), Daeng Abdul Rahman (MAS), Mathiam KEYSER (RSA), Nicholas FUNG (MAS), Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA), Genki OKADA (JPN)
71 – Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN), Sukree OTHMAN (MAS), Abel TAM (MAS), Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA), Puk PRADITTAN (THA) , Phanuvich ONCHU (THA), Shariffuddin ARIFFIN (MAS),
Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA), Paul HARRIS (USA), Kenneth TOBUSE (MAS), Andrew PARK (USA), Seungjae MAENG (USA)