Veteran Khor Kheng Hwai got off to a flying start in the first round of the Corolla Cross Cup when he carded an electrifying eight-under 64 to lead in-form Ervin Chang by one stroke at the Palm Garden Golf Club here today.

A further stroke behind tied for third place are Jaydon Pang and Gavin Green. Also within reach of the leader are Paul San and M. Sasidaran who both finished with four-under 68s.

In the Ladies championship, amateur Liyana Durisic held a two-stroke advantage over Aretha Pan when she shot a five-under 67. Lying third a further two strokes adrift was amateur Pang Hee Jie.

Liyana Durisic.

The Corolla Cross Cup is the seventh leg of the Toyota Tour presented by UMW Toyota Motor, managed by the Professional Golf Malaysia and delivered by MST Golf Group Berhad. The men’s purse is RM180,000 with the winner receiving RM31,500. The ladies’ champion will receive RM10,000 from a pool of RM30,000.

Penangite Khor started his round from the back nine and birdied his last four holes for a 32. After crossing over to the front nine, he recorded his only bogey of the day but that didn’t stop him from adding birdies on 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 for another 32. The 39-year-old’s best finish on the Toyota Tour so far was third placing at the Mirai Cup in Sarawak.

“I missed only one fairway today, but my approach shots were so-so,” said Khor whose last victory was a PGM event in 2017. “I only hit 14 greens but I putted rather well. Hopefully I can maintain this form tomorrow.”

His score of 64 which is his lowest in his career so far, matched the 64 he carded in his last round at the Palm Resort Closed Championship which he won in 2017. It was his last victory.

Chang, playing with Green for the first time, was happy with his 7-under 65 which included an incredible 50-foot putt for birdie on the lone Par 3 17th.

“This is a short course so it gives you many scoring opportunities. One just has to try and avoid making mistakes,” said Chang.

“It was good playing with Gavin. My first time with him on a course I’ve never played before,” added Chang who finished tied for 19th at the Mandiri Indonesian Open two days ago.

Gavin Green.

Green, who seemed to have regained his strength back, was quite satisfied with his game and felt he could have shot lower. “At least two of the par fives could have been turned into par fours. I hit driver-nine iron on one of the par fives.”

The shot of the day could have been by Green when playing their final hole, which is a reachable par 4 at the ninth. He pulled his tee shot left and the ball bounced off the cart path and ended up inside the bushes. Unable to take relief as he would be nearer the green, Green took an unplayable which included a one-stroke penalty and walked behind the bushes and down a steep slope with tall trees in front of him. Incredibly, he managed to hit over the trees and the ball landed 70 yards away on the green. His attempt at saving par failed but he was quite satisfied with a bogey.

The second round continues tomorrow with Green, Chang and amateur Marcus Lim teeing off at 9.50 from the first hole. Ahead of them are Khor, Ben Leong and Nicholas Fung who will be following Paul San, Shahriffuddin Ariffin and Fakhrul Akmal.

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