Steady Leong leads at PGM Sabah Championship

Wed 08 Aug 2018

Steady Leong leads at PGM Sabah Championship


Sabah, Malaysia, August 8: Home hero Ben Leong seized the opening round lead with a three-under-par 69 at the PGM Sabah Championship on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Malaysian stood firm in the wet and blustery conditions to lead by one shot over compatriot Nicholas Fung who carded a 70 at the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Thai duo Thepbodin Amaranan and Chonlatit Chuenboonngam carded matching 71s to tie in third place with Japan’s Shinichi Mizuno (71), while a group of 10 players share sixth place on 72 at the Sabah Golf and Country Club.

Starting on the 10th tee, Leong turned in 34 before adding two more birdies against one bogey on his homeward nine to seize the opening round lead.

“My only mistake was probably misjudging the wind on holes five and 17 and ended up missing the greens on my approach shots on both holes. But I putted well today and made a lot of good saves,” added Leong.

Leong, a winner on the Asian Tour, credited his mental strength and knowledge of the course that helped him navigate through the tricky conditions.

“It wasn’t easy out there. I just knew where to miss my shots and told myself par is actually a good score. Especially on the back nine when the wind started picking up, I just had to keep reminding myself to take par and move on,” said Leong.

Compatriot Fung, who also hails from Sabah, was disappointed with his poor finish after bogeying holes seven and nine.  

“I didn’t finish too well because I rushed my swing when the wind picked up and didn’t stick to my tempo. But I am still happy with the round since I did well by making birdies on all the par fives,” said Fung.

The PGM Sabah Championship is the 12th leg on the ADT’s 2018 schedule. All ADT events are afforded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status. The winner of each tournament receives a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.

The leading seven players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2019 season.


Leading round one scores:

69 - Ben LEONG (MAS)

70 - Nicholas FUNG (MAS)

71 - Thepbodin AMARANAN (THA) , Chonlatit CHUENBOONNGAM (THA) , Shinichi MIZUNO (JPN)

72 - Greg MOSS (USA) , Marc ONG (SGP) , Poom PATTAROPONG (THA) , Brandon LAU Ka Kin (MAS) , Oscar ZETTERWALL (SWE) , LAM Yu Shuen (MAS) , Martin DIVE (AUS) , Jeremy WENDELKEN (USA) , Sam GILLIS (USA) , Annop TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA)

73 - Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) , Brett MUNSON (USA) , Woosung CHO (KOR) , Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) , Justin DE LOS SANTOS (USA) , Cody O'TOOLE (USA) , Kenneth TOBUSE (MAS) , Janne KASKE (FIN) , Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) , Shaifubari MUDA (MAS)

74 - Shariffuddin ARIFFIN (MAS) , Naoki SEKITO (JPN) , Sajawat SRIPRASIT (THA) , Daeng Abdul Rahman (MAS) , Johnson POH (SGP) , Jesse SCHUTTE (USA)

About Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.