Kuala Lumpur, August 12: Jordan Irawan of Indonesia and Smithti Teeratrakul of Thailand fired matching six-under-par 66s to share the first round lead at the PGM Northport Glenmarie Championship on Wednesday.
The duo, both aged 19, leads by one shot over reigning Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit winner Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand and Malaysian trio Gavin Kyle Green, Nicholas Fung and Sukree Othman at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
Danny Masrin of Indonesia fired a 68 for seventh position while six other players including Arie Irawan and ADT winner Sean Riordan of New Zealand were bunched up in eighth place at the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) ADT event.
Irawan kept calm and composed as he posted his career’s low round after shooting six birdies and one eagle. The highlight of his day came when he holed a 10-foot eagle putt on the par-five third hole.
“I took a break from competitive golf for three weeks to meet with my coach (David Milne) in Indonesia. We worked on my mental game and it seems to be paying off,” said Irawan, who is searching for a first career win.
“We didn’t do much on my game, it was more 80% mental and 20% on my game. I tend to get mad when things don’t go my way so we talked about how to accept the good and bad in golf,” he explained.
Thailand’s Pavit, who started on the back nine, bogeyed his opening two holes but bounced back brilliantly when he holed a tricky 10-feet birdie putt on the 13th hole. He returned with seven more birdies against one bogey to stay within touching distance of the leaders.
“The putt on 13 gave me the confidence for the remainder of my round. I struggled with my driver but I was lucky I didn’t get into too much trouble. I’m happy with how I played but I the way I recovered after that slow start is a positive sign for me,” said Pavit, a four-time ADT winner.
Malaysia’s Green, who turned professional recently, turned in 33 after chipping in for birdie from 20 yards before adding three more birdies and one bogey.
“It was a solid round. I kept a lot of balls in play and that was my advantage. My game has been getting better because I changed my swing after turning professional to keep it more consistent. It seems to be working for me now,” said Green, who won his first ADT title as an amateur last year.
The winner of the PGM Northport Glenmarie Championship will take home a prize purse of US$9,615 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking points. The top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.
Since it was inaugurated in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to 21 tournaments in 2014. A record 24 tournaments have been confirmed for the 2015 season.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the final Order of Merit 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.