Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski rode on a hot putter to snatch the opening round lead with a sizzling seven-under-par 64 at the PGM LADA Langkawi Championship on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old Swede capped a bogey-free round highlighted by five birdies and an eagle on par-five 15 where he rammed in a sensational 65-footer to grab a one-shot lead at the Gunung Raya Golf Resorts.
Local prospect Shaaban Hussin and George Gandranata of Indonesia shared second place while Thailand’s Suradit Yongcharoenchai and James Byrne of Scotland settled for fourth following matching 66s at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) event.
Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit leader Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand sits in tied-19 position after carding a 69 while defending champion Wilson Choo of Malaysia took a share of 49th place with a 72.
Kokocinski, who secured his 2016 Asian Tour card after finishing inside top-40 at the Qualifying School earlier in January, negotiated around the course with only 26 putts to secure his place atop the leaderboard.
“I played solid today. I was just consistent out there and I managed to hit it close to the pin to give myself some good opportunities for birdies. I took advantage of the par-fives and I putted really well,” said Kokocinski, who is chasing for a breakthrough ADT victory.
“I’ve been practicing a lot before coming here. It got quite windy on my back nine but I hung in there. I am happy with how I played today,” added the Swede.
Gandranata, who just celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday, also took advantage of his hot putter and his sharp iron-play to stay close to the lead.
“I putted really well and I played my short irons pretty good. I hit about 14 greens and I sank some crucial putts to save pars coming back. I am happy to be in a good position but it’s still early. I will just keep grinding and try to enjoy myself out there,” said Gandranata.
In-form Shaaban set out his intent on claiming his first ADT title with yet another solid round on the region’s premier Tour.
The 35-year-old Malaysian started with a birdie on the 10 before soaring with an eagle on 15 where he sank a 50-footer from greenside. He went on to nail four birdies on the first, second, third and sixth holes but stumbled with a closing bogey on nine where he three-putted.
“I had a good round although I didn’t finish well. My putting helped me a lot. My birdies came from within two to three pins length away. I hit the ball good too. I have been playing consistently since winning on my domestic circuit three weeks ago. Hopefully I can keep up the good form for the rest of the week,” said Shaaban.
The PGM LADA Langkawi Championship, jointly sanctioned with the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour, is the seventh leg of the 2016 ADT season and also the Tour’s sixth stop in Malaysia this season.
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 2017.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Kokocinski ungguli hari pertama Kejuaraan LADA Langkawi
Catatan 64 puulan 7 dibawah par pada hari pertama menyaksikan penguasaan pemain kelahiran Sweeden Malcolm Kokocinski mendahului kejuaraan LADA Langkawi di kelab golf Gunung Raya.
Malcolm nyata cemerlang apabila tidak mencatat sebarang bogey sepanjang hari pertama, namun beliau diekori rapat dua pemain.
Bogey dilubang ke 9 nyata mengecewakan Shaaban Hussin sekaligus akur untuk menduduki tangga kedua dengan 65 pukulan 6 dibawah par bersama sama seorang lagi pemain kelahiran Indonesia, George Gandranata.
Manakala dua pemain, Suratdit Yongcharoenchai dari Thailand dan James Byrne dari Scotland berkongsi tempat ketiga dengan catatan terkumpul selepas hari pertama, 66 pukulan 5 dibawah par.
Tiga pemain negara, Ben Leong, Nicholas Fung dan Danny Chia antara 9 pemain yang berkongsi kedudukan keempat dengan catatan 67 pukulan 4 dibawah par.
Leading first round results:
64 – Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE)
65 – Shaaban HUSSIN (MAS) , George GANDRANATA (INA)
66 – Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) , James BYRNE (SCO)
67 – Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) , Ben LEONG (MAS) , Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) , CAO Yi (CHN) , Ekthumrong LUANGANURUK (THA) , Chan-woo KIM (KOR) , Nicholas FUNG (MAS) , Danny CHIA (MAS) , Blake SNYDER (USA)
68 – Greg MOSS (USA) , Gavin GREEN (MAS) , KHOR Kheng Hwai (MAS) , Pasamet POGAMNERD (THA)
69 – Kevin MARQUES (AUS) , Mohd Amli MOHIYADEEN (MAS) , Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKU (THA) , LOW Khai Jei (MAS) , Shaifubari MUDA (MAS) , Puk PRADITTAN (THA) , Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) , Nick SHERWOOD (USA) , Johnson POH (SIN)