CIMB Classic Qualifying: Leong races five clear at #SKNQ

Tue 04 Aug 2015

CIMB Classic Qualifying: Leong races five clear at #SKNQ

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Kuala Lumpur, August 4: Ben Leong fired an impressive four-under-par 68 to open up a commanding five-shot lead from Danny Chia after the second round of the SapuraKencana National Qualifier at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Tuesday.
Leong, who has one win on the Asian Tour, sank seven birdies against three bogeys for a two-day total of five-under-par 139 to put himself in prime position to win the RM22,000 champion’s cheque and also a prized spot in the US$7 million CIMB Classic in October.
Danny Chia Danny Chia
Veteran Chia battled to a 73 to trail in second place as his hopes for a fourth appearance in the CIMB Classic, which is sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and Asian Tour, also took a dent when he suffered a neck muscle strain midway through his round.
Nicholas Fung, Khor Kheng Hwai, Kenneth De Silva, Shaifubari Muda, S. Sivachandhran, C.M. Chong and Wilson Choo share third position on 147, some eight shots back of Leong.
“I played pretty well although I made some silly mistakes with some chips and made two bogeys. But then again, I made a 60-footer for birdie on 17 which pretty much adds everything up. I’m happy and I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” said the 29-year-old Leong.
“To tee it up on the PGA TOUR has been a goal ever since I was a kid. It would mean a lot if I can make it tomorrow.”
Leong has finished runner-up twice on the local circuit over the past two weeks and revealed that keeping his swing thoughts “simple” has been the key to his good run at the SapuraKencana National Qualifier.
“I’ve been taking it one shot and one day at a time. I just have simple goals … keep it on the fairway, and if I have 130 yards to the pin, I’ll be looking at getting it to 12 to 15 feet. It’s just been focussing on my personal goals and it’s been working out.
“Golfers always try to look for certain ways to improve and it can be poisonous if you keep searching instead of focussing on scoring. I’ve been through it, trying to look for the perfect putting stroke or swing. I guess I have matured,” said Leong, whose lone Asian Tour title was in 2008.
Chia, who won the SapuraKencana National Qualifier last year, was cruising on one-under for his round before hurting his neck on the second hole, his 11th of the day. He went on to bogey the fourth, fifth and ninth holes with one more birdie on seven.
“It was going quite well but on two, I pulled a muscle in my neck on the drive and I couldn’t turn my shoulder fully after that. I’m still happy to have kept it to one over for the round. I had had some stiffness in the neck and thought it was getting better. I’m going to get some treatment and hope it gets better tomorrow for me to try to put some pressure on Ben,” said the 42-year-old Chia.
[pullquote align="left or right"]Golfers always try to look for certain ways to improve and it can be poisonous if you keep searching instead of focussing on scoring. - Ben Leong[/pullquote]Fung endured a roller-coaster round with three birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey as his hopes of earning a third appearance at the CIMB Classic took a blow following a disappointing 74.
“I played even par on my front nine but then shanked my second shot on the first (his 10th hole). I can’t remember when I last did something like that and it affected my confidence with my iron play. I’m a few shots back but I’ll try to go low and play aggressive tomorrow as I have nothing to lose,” said Fung.
Khor shot a 70, which was the second best score of the day, but reckons he needs something in the mid-60s to have any chance of redeeming himself in the SapuraKencana National Qualifier after losing to Chia in a play-off last year.
“I hit it good but didn’t make enough putts. Probably missed four chances from 10 feet. I need it to be hot tomorrow. I had a closing 65 in Taiping (in a local tour event) last week and would probably need something like that again to have a chance,” said Khor.
The CIMB Classic, to be held from October 29 to November 1, will be the third event of the 2015 - 2016 FedExCup Season on the PGA TOUR. Offering full FedExCup points, the CIMB Classic will feature 78 players - 60 from the PGA TOUR, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions.
Out of the eight sponsor’s exemptions, CIMB Classic accords two spots for Malaysians. The second spot will be given to the highest ranked Malaysian golfer on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as at September 30. If the winner of the SapuraKencana National Qualifier is also the leading Malaysian in the OWGR, the second spot will automatically go to the next best-ranked Malaysian on the OWGR.
Leading second round scores
139: Ben Leong 71-68
144: Danny Chia 71-73
147: C. M. Chong 76-71, Kenneth De Silva 75-72, Khor Kheng Hwai 77-70, Nicholas Fung 73-74, S. Sivachandhran            74-73, Shaifubari Muda 76-71, Wilson Choo 72-75
148: Akhmal Tarmizee 77-71, R. Nachimuthu 71-77
About SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad
SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad (“Group”) is a leading global integrated oil and gas services and solutions provider operating across the entire upstream value. As a full-fledged upstream player, the Group’s spectrum of capabilities cover the exploration, development, production, rejuvenation, as well as decommissioning and abandonment stages of the value chain.
With a highly skilled and technically capable multinational workforce comprising over 13,000 people, strategic world-class assets, and strong project management capabilities, the Group today has a global presence in over 20 countries.
Learn more at www.sapurakencana.com
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 14.1 billion as at 31 March 2015 and over 41,000 employees located in 17 countries. Read more about CIMB Group at www.cimb.com.
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, 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 2014, tournaments across all Tours generated a record $140.5 million for local and national charitable organizations, after surpassing $2 billion in all-time charitable contributions early in the year.
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 FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Supplier), Fuji Xerox (Official Office Solutions Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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