Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 20: Malaysia’s Leunkwang Kim fired a solid nine-under-par 63 to take a two-shot lead after the first round of the US$54,000 PGM MIDF ADT Championship on Wednesday.
Kim’s flawless round included nine birdies at the Kota Seriemas Golf and Country Club, which also marked his best tournament score as a professional.
The 24-year-old leads current Order of Merit (OOM) leader Naoki Sekito (65) by two shots, while Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas (66) trails by the Malaysian leader by three shots.
Malaysian duo Airil Zahari and M. Sasidaran complete the top five with matching 67s.
Kim became the first Malaysian to win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this year when he triumphed in Kuching back in September.
Clinching that first ADT title instilled loads of confidence in him coming into this event.
“I have been playing well, and winning only gave me more confidence. Today I started great with a 15-foot birdie putt on my first hole. That got me going,” said Kim.
Buoyed by that great opener on the 10th, the Malaysian was in imperious form as he reeled off another five birdies, including four consecutive ones from 12th.
He was not able to match the sublime start after the turn, but a further three birdies ensured he would head into the second round in pole position.
“I was struggling a little with my putting the last few days, but today everything seemed to fall into place. The course is also excellent, the greens are made for good putting.”
Kim is also the highest Malaysian on the ADT Order Of Merit at 19th place, but he is not thinking too far ahead just yet.
“Of course it would be nice for me to finish in the top seven, but there are still three tournaments left. I’m taking it one round at a time,” he said.