Trio shares opening honours at PGM Johor Championship

Wed 04 Apr 2018

Trio shares opening honours at PGM Johor Championship

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Johor Bahru, Malaysia, April 4: Singapore’s Mitchell Slorach ignited his title ambitions after signing for a solid seven-under-par 65 to share the opening round lead with countryman Quincy Quek and Janne Kaske of Finland at the PGM Johor Championship on Wednesday.

The leading trio hold a two-shot advantage over local hotshot Ben Leong and Sorachut Hansapiban of Thailand, who returned with matching 67s to share fourth place at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Japan’s Shohei Hasegawa, who secured his breakthrough win in Indonesia a fortnight ago, carded a 68 to stay three shots off the pace in sixth place alongside five other players at the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT).

Slorach, 30, missed only one fairway in his commendable round of 65 where he needed only 22 putts.

Starting from the first, Slorach stumbled with a double-bogey on the second hole but bounced back swiftly with two straight birdies from the third.

Despite dropping another shot on the fifth, Slorach remained in control as he reeled in five straight birdies from the seventh before sinking another three consecutive birdies in his closing four holes.

“I started off slow with a double-bogey on the second hole when my tee shot went into the water, but I recovered quickly with two holes right after. I sank a 35-footer for birdie on the eighth which was the highlight for me today. Other than that, all my other birdie putts were within 10-feet I was hitting it straight today and striking the ball well,” said Slorach.

Slorach credited his positive change in mindset for a commendable round which has boosted his confidence as he continues his chase for a breakthrough victory on the region’s secondary circuit.

“I went on a diving trip last week to get my mind off golf because I have been feeling very unmotivated since my last event two weeks ago. I was close to giving up but I made a promise to myself at the start of the year that I would take it easy on myself and play with no expectations. Before the round I was feeling very sore and tired but I had a very positive attitude which helped me get over the bad holes fast,” Slorach added.

Quek, a one-time ADT winner, also took advantage of his acute short game to cap a solid round highlighted by one eagle and six birdies against a lone bogey.

“I was making putts from everywhere which really boosted my confidence. I made a lot of putts from 20-feet especially in my first nine holes and I had a chip-in on hole 16 for eagle from 20 meters.

“I hit my drive into the rough and the pin was in the back on the right side of the green. I told myself it was better to miss it left but ended up missing the shot right and leaving myself with an awkward chip. That chip-in for eagle was a huge bonus,” said Quek, who enjoyed a tied-fourth place finish in Brunei last month.

The leading five 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 first round scores:

 65 - Mitchell SLORACH (SGP) , Janne KASKE (FIN) , Quincy QUEK (SGP) 

67 - Ben LEONG (MAS) , Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 68 - Ye Htet AUNG (MYN) , Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) , Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) , Shaifubari MUDA (MAS) , Johnson POH (SGP) , Shinichi MIZUNO (JPN) 69 - Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) , Justin DE LOS SANTOS (USA) , Jacob BOYCE (AUS) , Sajawat SRIPRASIT (THA) , Smithti TEERATRAKUL (THA) , Tarik CAN (USA) 

70 - John Michael O'TOOLE (USA) , Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) , M. Sasidaran (MAS) , Airil Rizman ZAHARI (MAS) , Josh SALAH (USA) , Kieran PRATT (AUS) , Greg MOSS (USA) , KHOR Kheng Hwai (MAS) , KOH Deng Shan (SGP)

Ends.

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 Web.com 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.