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Thursday January 31, 2013

Nachimuthu and Mardan share opening round lead

PETALING JAYA: Local hope R. Nachimuthu and Singaporean star Mardan Mamat led the chase for Official World Golf Ranking points as they shot identical five-under 67s to share the opening round lead at the PGM CCM Rahman Putra Masters at the Rahman Putra Golf and Country Club yesterday.

Nachimuthu and Mardan got off to a hot start to take a one-shot lead at the US$65,000 event, which is the first Asian Development Tour (ADT) tournament to receive world ranking points in the new 2013 season.

Malaysians S. Murthy and Iain Steel, Gary Knight of the United States, Nick Redfern of England, Australian Darren Tan and Wolmer Murillo, the first Venezuelan to play on the ADT, were a further shot back.

Mardan, a three-time Asian Tour winner, credited the hours spent at the gym during the off-season for his splendid start where he holed a huge 30-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole and sank five other birdies against two bogeys.

“I’m satisfied with the way I played. I concentrated a lot on my fitness during the off-season. I went to the gym four times a week and work out for two hours. It has helped my game,” said the 45-year-old.

Mardan believes the ADT’s Official World Golf Ranking status will elevate the stature of the ADT to even greater heights as it gives upcoming players the opportunity to play in the 2016 Olympics.

“This is great because it motivates the younger players to play on the ADT and if they win or finish high on the leaderboard, they will earn world ranking points which will help lift their careers,” added the Singaporean.

Nachimuthu, the PGM Tour’s number one in 2011, peppered the flags with accurate iron shots and was rewarded with three birdies in the last four holes to share the first round honours.

“I’ve been working a lot with my coach (Andrew Argus) and it seems to be paying off. I kept calm and hit a lot of greens. I think the players can really benefit from earning world ranking points,” said Nachimuthu.

Malaysians Wilson Choo, Khor Kheng Hwai and Irfan Yusof and Austrian Uli Weinhandl, Grant Jackson of England, Mitsuhiko Hashizume of Japan, Lam Chih Bing of Singapore, American James Bowen, Lindsay Renolds of Canada and Filipino Edward Reyes posted identical 69s for tied ninth.

First round scores

*Malaysians unless stated

67: R. Nachimuthu, Mardan Mamat (Sin);

68: S. Murthy, Gary Knight (US), Wolmer Murillo (Ven), Darren Tan (Aus), Iain Steel, Nick Redfern (Eng);

69: Wilson Choo, Uli Weinhandl (Aut), Grant Jackson (Eng), Mitsuhiko Hashizume (Jpn), Khor Kheng Hwai, Lam Chih Bing (Sin), James Bowen (US), Lindsay Renolds (Can), Edward Reyes (Phi), Irfan Yusof;

70: Shaaban Hussin, James Lam (Phi), Zurie Harun, Hanafiah Jamil, Tommy Mansuvvan (Tha), Amli Mohiyadeen;

71: James Byrne (Sco), George Gandranata (Ina), Rory Hie (Ina), Rahizam Ramli, Greg Moss (US), Sukree Othman, Quincy Quek (Sin), Dean Gultula (Tha), Malcolm Kokocinski (Swe);

72: S. Sivachandran, Douglas Tobuse, Lim Eng Seng, Kim Ji-hoon (Kor), Naotoa Nakanishi (Jpn), Zaw Moe (Mya), P. Gunasegaran, Airil Rizman Zahari.

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