Indonesia’s Rory Hie put up a brave act under windy conditions to seize the opening round lead when he fired a sizzling five-under-par 66 at the PGM Terengganu Championship on Wednesday.
Hie marked his card with six birdies against a lone bogey for a one-shot advantage over Canadian Lindsay Renolds and Thailand’s Smithi Teeratrakul, who shared second place on 67, at the Resorts World Kijal.
Thai duo Atthaphon Sriboonkaew and Itthipat Buranatanyarat, together with American Shane Smith, stayed two shots off the pace in fourth place at the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) event, which is the third leg of the Asian Development Tour (ADT) schedule this season.
Hie, who enjoyed a tied-second finish at the Resorts World Kijal in 2013 which was also his last appearance in the tournament, credited his strong iron play for an impressive round.
“I hit a lot of good iron shots and got up and down when I need to. The game was pretty solid today. I had a lot of birdie chances that could have gone in from short range but I would take 66 for the day,” said the 26-year-old Indonesian.
Hie sank two birdies on the third and seventh holes before dropping his only shot of the day on the eighth to turn in 35. He went on to cap a flawless back nine highlighted by four birdies on the 10, 11, 13 and 18.
“I’ve been working on my swing and it felt really good this week. It was windy and tough to play on the back nine but I actually shot four-under-par to gain my grounds. I couldn’t be happier to finish the round with a birdie on the last,” added Hie.
Renolds, who had earlier secured his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School in January, was pleased to get his season off to a good start in his first competitive start of the year.
“I played solid and didn’t make any mistakes. I’m very happy with how I played today and I hope to keep it going throughout the week. The course is tough but I managed my game well and hit lots of nice shots out there,” said the 28-year-old Canadian, who marked his card with five birdies against one bogey.
“This is my first event since the Qualifying School and it’s kind of good because I was really able to work on my game and spend some time with my family. It’s exciting to come back out and compete. I’m just enjoying the moment right now,” added Renolds.
The ADT will reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.
Leading first round scores:
66 – Rory HIE (INA)
67 – Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN), Smithi TEERATRAKUL (THA)
68 – Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA), Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA), Shane SMITH (USA)
69 – Jack MUNRO (AUS), Airil Rizman ZAHARI (MAS), Takuya FUJI (JPN)
70 – Nick REDFERN (ENG), Panuwat MUENLEK (THA), Sukree OTHMAN (MAS), Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA), Danny CHIA (MAS)
72 – Nicholas FUNG (MAS)
74 – Arie IRAWAN (MAS), Wilson CHOO (MAS)
75 – Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA)