Kuala Lumpur, July 25: Ben Leong took advantage of near benign conditions to fire an impressive seven-under-par 65 for a three-shot lead in the first round of the CIMB National Championship at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
The 31-year-old Leong pulled ahead of the chasing pack in the qualifying event for the prestigious CIMB Classic, thanks to a brilliant round where he hit 18 greens in regulation and sank eight birdies.
Veteran Danny Chia, who is bidding for a sixth appearance at the CIMB Classic which will be played at TPC KL from October 12 to 15, carded a 68 to share second place with surprise package, Mohd Zur’ie Harun.
The 42-year-old Zur’ie was the only golfer in the 78-man field to keep the bogeys off his card in the RM200,000 tournament. A further stroke back are rookie professional Amir Nazrin Jailani, 20, and Wilson Choo, who shot matching 69s.
Title holder Gavin Green traded three birdies against as many bogeys for a 72 to trail by seven strokes in the tournament which rewards the champion with RM30,000 and a coveted spot in the CIMB Classic, which is the only PGA Tour tournament staged in Southeast Asia and also sanctioned by the Asian Tour.