Irawan, a 24-year-old Tulsa graduate, was in inspired form as he snatched five birdies in a flawless display of golf. Finishing bogey-free today, the former national now finds himself in contention at this prestigious championship.Japan’s Masaru Takahashi, who is playing on sponsor’s invite, scaled the leaderboard with another 66 to take share of third on three-under 139 alongside Jay Bayron of the Philippines.
Dropping off the pace, Thailand’s Pipatpong Naewsuk had to settle for sole fourth today when he returned with a 72 after collecting three bogeys. Fellow Singaporean Koh Dengshan also took heed of his mentor’s exploits by firing six birdies in an impressive back nine display to haul himself into joint sixth on 141 with Malaysians Sukree Othman and Shaaban Hussin.
Mamat who is making his third consecutive appearance at the Sabah Masters, noted that the Graham Marsh-designed tract was proving to be a real test to his title ambitions. He says, “The course is definitely playing a lot harder. While you have a better view of the greens, they are playing really firm and it is not easy to read the lines. You need to stay composed because it’s not easy to roll a putt here, which places a premium on hitting it as close as possible to the pins”.
Leading First Round Scores (par-71)
135 – Mardan Mamat (SIN) 69-66
137 -Arie Irawan (MAS) 71-66
139 – Masaru Takahashi (JPN) 73-66, Jay Bayron (PHI) 72-67
140 – Pipatpong Naewsuk (THA) 69-71
141 – Sukree Othman (MAS) 73-68, Dengshan Koh (SIN) 75-66, Shaaban Hussin (MAS) 70-71
142 – Ratchapol Jantavara (THA) 70-72, Sutijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 69-73, Solomon Emilio Rosidin (MAS) 70-72
143 – Joeh Seik (INA) 72-71, Lim Eng Seng (MAS) 72-71, Nicholas Pua (MAS) 73-70, Natthapong Niyomchon (THA) 74-69, Song Gyu Yoo (KOR) 72-71, Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 70-73, Airil Rizman Zahari (MAS) 69-74, Kwanchai Tannin (THA) 72-71, Ben Leong (MAS) 74-69
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