Chia in charge at SapuraKencana National qualifier

Mon 25 Aug 2014

Chia in charge at SapuraKencana National qualifier

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Kuala Lumpur, August 25: Danny Chia birdied his closing two holes for a flawless six-under-par 66 to hold a commanding three-shot lead after the first round of the SapuraKencana National Qualifier on Monday.
The 41-year-old Chia, who won the SapuraKencana National Qualifier in 2012, returned with six birdies to lead from an in-form Ben Leong at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, West course.
Airil Rizman was a further two shots back in third after posting a 71 in the RM150,000 event which rewards the winner with a spot in the US$7 million CIMB Classic, which is sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and Asian Tour from October 30 to November 2.
Starting from the 10th tee, Chia needed a huge lift off in the second half after turning in 35. He burst into life with three straight birdies starting from the third hole and ended with a flourish to put himself in prime position to feature in the CIMB Classic for the third time.
“On the back I started to hit better with my irons and the putts dropped so I gained a bit of confidence with my putting. I wasn’t being too greedy. I tried to hit the fairways and find the greens and hopefully hole my putts,” said Chia.
The popular Malaysian has been struggling with injuries since 2013 and his latest setback was a back injury earlier this month which forced him out of competitive golf for several weeks.
“After the surgery in September, 2013 (to remove bone fragments which were pressing on a nerve), I tried to work way too hard to regain my strength. I overworked my body and hurt my back.
“It is not the same injury. So far I’m feeling okay. I did some treatment on my back and I’m feeling much better,” added Chia, who enjoyed a tied 13th result in the 2011 CIMB Classic.
Leong continued his rich vein of form after winning a local event last week. The slender Malaysian posted four birdies against one bogey with the highlight of his round being a brilliant birdie on 13which came after he rifled his five iron to three feet.
“I’ve been playing well. Every part of my game is good. I felt quite relaxed out and I’m happy with the result. Hole 13 is a tough hole and I always find myself in trouble on that hole. So the birdie gave me a lot more confidence,” said Leong, who is aiming to qualify for the CIMB Classic for the first time.
Airil kept up his chase for a spot in the CIMB Classic by trading three birdies against two bogeys to return with his career’s best score at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
“I’m really happy with my result. I made all the putts that I needed to make. This is my official lowest score on this golf course!” he laughed.
“I’ve been playing well since June. Most of my weekly scores are under-par. I’m happy with my swing and it all comes down to my confidence which breaks or makes your round. I switched irons earlier so that’s the turning point. I’m feeling comfortable with all my clubs now," said Airil.
The SapuraKencana National Qualifier, returning for its third consecutive year, is sponsored by the world’s leading integrated oil and gas services and solutions provider, SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad (“SapuraKencana”), which is also the lead partner in the CIMB Classic 2014.
The CIMB Classic will be the fourth event of the 2014/15 FedExCup Season on the PGA TOUR. Offering full FedExCup points, the CIMB Classic will feature 78 players – 60 coming from the PGA TOUR, 10 from Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions, and will carry a total purse of US$7 million.
Out of the eight sponsor’s exemptions, CIMB Classic accords two spots for Malaysians. The second spot will be accorded to the highest ranked Malaysian golfer on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as at October 20. If the winner of the SapuraKencana National Qualifier is also the leading Malaysian in the OGWR, the second spot for the CIMB Classic will automatically go to the next best-ranked Malaysian on the OGWR.
Leading first round scores:
66 – Danny Chia
69 - Ben Leong
71 – Airil Rizman
72 – Mohd Rizal Amin, Mohd Azman, S. Sivachandran
About SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad
SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad (“SapuraKencana”) is a full-fledged upstream player and one of the world’s largest integrated oil and gas services and solutions providers. SapuraKencana’s full spectrum of capabilities covers the entire value chain of exploration, development, production, rejuvenation, and decommissioning and abandonment. With a multinational workforce comprising 51 nationalities and over 13,000 people, comprehensive world-class assets and project management capabilities, the Group’s global presence can be seen in over 20 countries including Malaysia, China, Australia, Brazil, the United States of America, as well as those in Western Africa, and the Middle East.
About CIMB Group
The title sponsor of the CIMB Classic is CIMB Group. CIMB Group is one of ASEAN’s leading universal banking groups. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the Group is now present in 8 out of 10 ASEAN nations. CIMB Group offers a full suite of financial services and related products; has a market capitalisation of approximately USD 19 billion as at 30 June 2014 and over 40,000 employees located in 17 countries. Read more about CIMB Group at www.cimb.com.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
About PGA of Malaysia (PGAM)
The PGA of Malaysia is the umbrella body for all professional golfers in    Malaysia. As the governing body, the PGA of Malaysia is the sole sanctioning authority for professional tournaments in the country. It is also tasked with the promotion and development of the game of golf at all levels and provides training, education and professional development for its members.
About PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour, NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR China.
The PGA TOUR’s mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in the communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.
Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 225 countries and territories in 32 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2013, tournaments across all Tours generated more than $134 million for local and national charitable organizations and in early 2014 the TOUR’s all-time charitable contributions surpassed $2 billion.
The PGA TOUR's web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.