Thursday, 24 April 2014 | MYT 10:56 PM
Nicholas grabs share of first-round lead in Jakarta
Nicholas Fung continued his dazzling form by taking a share of the first-round lead with Korean-American Anthony Kang at the US$750,000 (RM2.4mil) CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.
JAKARTA: Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung continued his dazzling form by taking a share of the first-round lead with Korean-American Anthony Kang who surprised even himself with an opening five-under 67 at the US$750,000 (RM2.4mil) CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat, a three-time Asian Tour winner, signed for a 68 to take a share of third place on Thursday with defending champion Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, India’s Sujjan Singh as well as Australia’s Jake Higginbottom and Cameron Smith who graduated from Qualifying School earlier this year.
Still riding high on the EurAsia Cup euphoria where Team Asia battled to an epic draw with Team Europe last month, Nicholas is putting his experience of playing against the world’s best players to good use at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
“It’s nice to see my name on the leaderboard. I made the cut in Malaysia for the first time last week and that gave me a huge confidence boost.
“Of course, the experience from EurAsia Cup has helped me as well. Playing with Jamie Donaldson and Graeme McDowell and Miguel Angel Jimenez at the EurAsia Cup has taught me a lot.
“I’ve learned to be patient with my game, try to calm down and always stay positive,” said Nicholas.
The Malaysian held his own and emerged as the best player in the morning’s marquee group which included 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat (71) of Thailand and Major winner Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (72).
“It’s great playing with Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Louis Oosthuizen. I started very well today when I was three-under after five holes.
“It was all good for me out there today (Thursday) and I’m feeling very confident,” said Nicholas.
Evergreen Kang, who does not look a day older than his 41 years of age, sprung a big surprise when he made his presence felt atop the leaderboard.
Kang’s last victory on the region’s premier Tour dates back to 2009 when he won his third title in Malaysia.
While he may not be at the peak of his career on Thursday, Kang is happy he can still put up a good showing in Jakarta.
“I surprised even myself with such a good score. You know, I’m getting old and I’m just enjoying my time on the golf course nowadays.
“But today’s score shows that I still have the talent to play good golf. It’s a positive start and hopefully, I can continue to play the way I did today,” said Kang.