PETALING JAYA: Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai carded a superb five-under-par 65 to take the clubhouse lead following the rain-interrupted opening round of the US$175,000 PKNS Selangor Masters at Seri Selangor Golf Club.
Chasing his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title, Poosit was in superb form as he fired six birdies – five of which came in a scintillating back nine of 30 – against one bogey at the strategically challenging Seri Selangor layout. Seri Selangor is playing as a par-70 course this week, with the par-five fifth and par-five 18th holes converted to par-fours for the tournament.
Joint 26th in this event at the same venue last year, Poosit tops the leaderboard by one shot from compatriot Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij.
“I played well today. I made bogey on the first hole after missing the fairway, but after that my driver started working and I was also hitting my irons well,” said Poosit, who won the 2017 Defence Raya Golf Championship in Pakistan for his maiden ADT title.
“Most of my birdie putts were not long, around 10 feet, and I almost holed my second shot at the 11th hole. I hope I can play like today and keep the ball on the fairway all the way to the weekend,” added the 30-year-old.
Starting on the 10th hole, Varanyu raked in six birdies including three in a row from Holes 6 to 8, but dropped shots on two holes for a round of 66. The 26-year-old blamed his short game for not being able to post a lower score.
“I was hitting it well off the tee and putting myself in the correct spots. But my chipping was not so good, and the two bogeys came from simple mistakes.” said Varanyu, who is a three-time ADT winner.
Having finished tied 11th at the 2022 PKNS Selangor Masters, Varanyu certainly has an affinity for the Seri Selangor layout. “I like this golf course. You have to try to play safe because it is very challenging, and even a slight mistake can result in a big number,” he said.
Spearheading the Malaysian challenge in the tournament, which is co-sanctioned with the domestic Toyota Tour, is the country’s top golfer Gavin Green, a three-time ADT winner, and seasoned campaigner Kenneth De Sliva. The duo signed in matching one-under-par 69s to lie in joint third position among those who completed their rounds.
Green was not pleased with how he played, noting that he did not give himself enough birdie chances.
“I didn’t hit as many fairways as I would have liked to, and that cost me. It was just hard to judge the shots out of the rough; I expected fliers, but the ball jumped a lot more than I thought it would. My scrambling was good and my putting was decent, but it’s just not easy out there,” said the 29-year-old, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2017.
The 32-year-old De Silva meanwhile was pleased with how he plotted his way around the golf course.
“I hit a lot of greens today and, when I did miss, I missed in the right spots and managed to get up and down. I had one long birdie putt, on Hole 17 when I made a 20-footer,” said De Sliva, who won the 2012 Sarawak Masters for his first and only ADT title.
De Silva noted that he owed his good start partly to a driving tip from young compatriot Ervin Chang. “I’ve been struggling with my driver recently, but Ervin gave me a swing tip yesterday and it worked well today,” he said.
Play was suspended at 4.26pm due to an impending thunderstorm and the threat of lightning, and was eventually cancelled for the day with 72 golfers yet to finish their rounds. Round 1 will resume at 7.15am tomorrow, followed by Round 2 which will not commence before 8.15am.
The PKNS Selangor Masters is the first stop of the closing three-event stretch on this year’s ADT and is also the penultimate tournament of the 2023 Toyota Tour. The tournament will play a pivotal role in determining the top 10 players on the ADT’s final Order of Merit, who will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for 2024.
The organizers will be awarding the best Malaysian finisher this week with an additional RM10,000 on top of the tournament prize money.
Since its inception in 2007, the Selangor Masters has seen two Malaysian winners in Ben Leong, who won the second edition in 2008, and Shahriffuddin Ariffin who was triumphant last year. Both Leong and Shahriffuddin are competing in this week’s Hong Kong Open on the Asian Tour.
The Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) returns as title sponsor for the second year running, while the event promoter is PKNS Golf Management Services Sdn Bhd which is a full subsidiary of PKNS.
Crafted by Australian architect Ross Watson, the Seri Selangor course opened for play in 1998 as Malaysia’s first genuine public facility and provides an enthralling golf experience with its strategic design, tree-lined fairways and speedy greens.
LEADING ROUND 1 SCORES (COMPLETED ROUNDS ONLY)
65: Poosit Supupramai (THA)
66: Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij (THA)
69: Gavin Green (MAS)
Jeremy Wendelken (USA)
Kenneth De Silva (MAS)
Pattaraphol Khanthacha (THA)
71: Galven Green (MAS)
Tawit Polthai (THA)