SIBU, 25 JUNE 2024 – The Fortuner Cup kicked off in spectacular fashion at Kelab Golf Sibu today, with Daeng Rahman and Ben Leong emerging as joint leaders after an impressive first round. Both golfers carded remarkable 7-under-par 63s, setting a high bar for the competition.

Ben Leong.

A stroke behind and alone in third position was Pahang lad Edven Ying whose hot birdie-eagle-birdie start helped him to a six-under finish. Alone in fourth was Shahriffuddin Ariffin who strung eight birdies against three bogeys while Nicholas Fung and Brandon Lai shared fifth at four under.

The day belonged to Daeng and Leong who showed composure throughout the round. Daeng, still nursing a wrist injury, was happy with his game and glad that he had regained confidence with his driver. “I wasn’t hitting my woods well last week at the Selangor Masters but it worked today.”

“This being my first time here I didn’t know what to expect about this Sibu course but after yesterday’s pro-am, I felt that I could shoot a low number here,” said Daeng. “It’s a short course but the greens are tricky. I like the layout.”

Leong was happy to jointly lead the tournament but knew there was still plenty of work ahead. He made the turn with six birdies, added three more birdies but dropped back to -7 after two bogeys.

A total of 22 players broke par on this Par 70 layout which has provided the perfect backdrop for a first-ever event for Sibu on the Toyota Tour which is organised by the Professional Golf Malaysia and delivered by MST Golf.

A pre-tournament favourite Marcus Lim started off strongly with birdie on the first hole after almost driving the green. He ended in the frontside bunker and splashed out to 15 feet and sank the putt. However on the next hole, a doglegged right par 5 which has seen numerous birdies and eagles today, Lim pulled his tee shot that ended a mere foot past the OB line, resulting in a double bogey 7.

Lim recovered with birdies on the 5th, 6th, 10th, 15th and 16th against a bogey on the 12th to finish joint seventh at three under. “I was a little disappointed with how I ended up, three- under and joint seventh position,” said Lim.

“I made solid birdies, made some silly mistakes. I should have played smarter. Hopefully I’ll learn from what I did today and look forward to a better round tomorrow,” said Lim who turned professional two weeks ago and finished third in the ADT Selangor Masters last Saturday.

Toyota Tour Order of Merit leader Galven Green had a mixed round of three birdies against five bogeys and finished two-over in joint 32nd. Local hero Lee Kah Tung who was grouped with Green and Lim, said he thoroughly enjoyed the round. “They are a few levels above me but it was a wonderful experience.” He finished at four-over 74 and is three strokes behind leading amateur Benjamin Ethan.

In the Ladies Championship, Geraldine Wong overcame a fall on her way to the 5th tee box to card a one-over 71 to lead amateur Mirabel Ting by one stroke. Michelle Koh was one stroke further adrift on 73. Wong said she should be able to start tomorrow’s second round.

Geraldine Wong.

Leading Men’s scores
63 Ben Leong, Daeng Rahman
64 Edven Ying
65 Shahriffuddin Ariffin
66 Nicholas Fung, Brandon Lai
67 Marcus Lim, Khor Kheng Hwai, Kim Leun Kwang, Hafiy Suhaili
68 Amir Nazrin, Paul San, Nazri Zain, Ikhmal Basry, Lee Chong Li, Wilson Choo, Fakhrul Akmal

71 Geraldine Wong
72 Mirabel Ting
73 Michelle Koh
74 Durriyah Damian
81 Amalia Shahzan

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