Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reasons to be cheerful for David Glee-son

after a five-under-par 67 to lead by two

Siew Reap , Cambodia. Australia ’s David Gleeson broke away from a bunched leaderboard to take the first round lead at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open today.
Gleeson, a two-time Asian Tour winner, shot a five-under-par 67 which included a birdie at the 18th hole to lead by one shot in the US$300,000 event.
Filipino Artemio Murakami, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-hong, Malaysian Khor Kheng Hwai and Thai trio Pariya Junhasavasdikul, Annop Tangkamolprasert and Atthaphon Prathummanee share second place on 68s at the Phokeethra Country Club.
India ’s Shiv Kapur shot a 70 which included an eagle two and three other birdies.
Gleeson turned in 35 with birdies on the second and fifth holes but dropped a shot on the ninth. He continued his climb up the leaderboard with further birdies on 10, 13 and 15 but it was the 20ft birdie conversion at the closing hole which highlighted his round.
“The 18th hole is one of the strong holes here so I am quite surprised I was able to sink that putt. It was one of those that fell in the last minute. I didn’t know it was going in but it is definitely good to move away from the rest,” said Gleeson.
The former Australian amateur champion has managed only one top-10 so far this season and he was delighted to hit form early in the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open, which is celebrating its third edition.
“I have been playing alright of late but my first round has always pulled me down. My goal was to play well on Thursday and see what happens after that. I’ve accomplished half of it so I expect to push forward from here on,” he said.
Murakami, winner of the 2007 Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia , also showed a welcome return to form after missing three consecutive cuts. The Filipino, who is battling to save his Tour card, credited his putting which helped him to a flawless round highlighted by four birdies.
“I have been struggling with my putting the whole year but I was putting well again and that really saved me. Hopefully I can keep it going for the next three days,” said Murakami.
The bubbly Filipino is currently in 77th position on the rankings and needs to break into the top-65 with two more events remaining on the Asian Tour Schedule. “I have to continue to shoot low numbers in my next three rounds to give myself a chance of keeping my card but I do not want to put too much pressure on myself. I will just play according to my own pace,” said Murakami.
Pariya, one of Thailand ’s emerging young players, was also in excellent form as a superb ball-striking display earned him numerous birdie chances. The 25-year-old hit 16 greens in regulation but was disappointed not to convert more putts.
“I am not really pleased. A lot more could have been done but it was a good start. My ball striking has been great but I wish my short game could come together,” said Pariya.
Starting from the back nine, Lin, who is the younger brother to five-time Asian Tour winner Wen-tang, fired a flawless outward nine from the 10th hole to make the turn in 31 but suffered one bogey coming home.
“I am happy with my performance but was quite disappointed not to have a better score. The undulating greens on the back nine were very tough and I could not putt as well as I wanted to,” said Lin, who is searching for his maiden title.
The unheralded Khor recovered from a bout of food poisoning to battle his way into contention. The Malaysian wielded a new putter which worked wonders for him as he managed to sink back-to-back 20 foot birdie putts on the 11th and 12th holes.
“I didn’t expect to do well and thought of coming out this morning to withdraw so I am glad I changed my mind. It was one of my best rounds I have played so far and it could have been better if not for the double bogey (second hole) where my approach found the water,” said the Khor, who started his round from the back nine.
Par 72
67 David Gleeson (AUS)
68 Lin Wen-hong (TPE), Artemio Murakami (PHI), Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA), Khor Kheng Hwai (MAS), Annop Tangkamolprasert (THA), Atthaphon Prathummanee (THA)
69 Vikrant Chopra (IND), Craig Smith (WAL), Namchoak Tantipokakul (THA) Thanyakorn Khrongpha [A] (THA), Chris Roake (ENG), Neven Basic (AUS)
70 Jeff Burns (USA), Jay Bayron (PHI), Chris Campbell (AUS), Rahil Gangjee (IND), Anirban Lahiri (IND), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), Marcus Both (AUS)
Selected scores:
72 Ross Bain (Scotland), Rohan Blizard (Australia), Iain Steel (Malaysia), Steve Parry (England).
74 Rhys Davies (Wales).
75 Simon Dunn (Scotland).



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