Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung took full advantage of a ‘lucky’ opening eagle en route to an impressive six-under-par 65 in the first round of the inaugural US$1.5 million Ho Tram Open.
Starting from the par-five 10th hole, the 25-year-old mishit his approach shot which remarkably spun back into the cup for an outrageous eagle. He went on to shoot five more birdies against a lone bogey for a share of fourth place and trails first day leader Charlie Wi of Korea by three.
Malaysian rookie Gavin Green battled to a 70 in the Asian Tour’s richest full field tournament while Danny Chia, who is on track to qualify for Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup against Europe next month, fired a 71.
“It was a lucky shot,” conceded Fung. “It was 85 metres to the pin but I pushed my shot right and it spun back into the hole. It was a blind shot so I didn’t know that it went in until my caddy told me.”
Despite windy conditions, Fung kept a cool head at the award-winning The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip course and was duly rewarded with a strong start in yet another attempt to secure a maiden Asian Tour win.
Ranked 36th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, the slightly built Malaysian, who finished runner-up in Singapore several weeks ago, is also hoping to make a late push for a place in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM. He needs to be amongst the top-four Asians on the Order of Merit by December 14.
Fung, however, is keen to play down any pressure to get into the team or secure a first win in Asia’s premier golf circuit.
“I tried to take it easy. I started my round quite late in the morning and the wind was already blowing. The course is not long so I had some good birdie chances. It will be tougher tomorrow (in the afternoon) so I just need to avoid making mistakes,” he said.
“I’ve been telling myself to stay positive and relax. I was in contention in the last two Asian Tour events but I put too much pressure on myself.”
Since opening in October 2014, the links-style layout, located two hours southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, has been hailed by many of the world’s leading authorities on golf. Last month, it was named the “World’s Best New Course” at the World Golf Awards ceremony in Portugal.
For more information about the Ho Tram Open including player bios and sponsorship options, visit www.hotramopen.com.