Iylia noses ahead at PGM Penang Championship

Penang, Sept 10: Malaysia’s Iylia Jamil snatched the halfway lead in the PGM Penang Championship on Thursday, a solid 69 giving him a one-stroke advantage over two-time ASEAN PGA Tour winner Nicholas Fung, who shot a best-of-the-day 67.

The Malaysian quintet of M Sasidaran, the overnight leader who carded a 73, R Nachimuthu (71), Kenneth De Silva (71), Mohd Amli Mohd Mohiyedeen (68) and Mohd Sukree Othman (69) are two shots further back at Penang Golf Club.

Iylia is seeing the rewards for his hard work on the practice range, following up his bogey-free 67 with a three-under 69 to hit the front after 36 holes.

He mixed two birdies with two bogeys on his opening nine (he teed off at the 10th) and recorded three birdies in an accomplished back nine.

Fung, winner of the 2012 Palembang Musi Championship and the Mercedes-Benz Masters Vietnam in 2010 on the ASEAN PGA Tour, played near faultless golf with six birdies and a sole bogey.

The 25-year-old Malaysian is enjoying a good season, highlighted by an amazing 11-stroke victory in the PGM Johor Championship in April.

Sasidaran enjoyed a one-stroke lead over Iylia after the first round but had a nightmare start on Thursday with a double bogey at the first hole followed by a bogey and never fully recovered.

Kemarol Baharin suffered a major setback in his bid for a second ASEAN PGA Tour title this season after a second-round 74 saw him slip 10 shots behind the leader.

He claimed the PGM UMW Impian Championship crown with a three-stroke victory in April and lies ninth on the ASEAN PGA Tour Order of Merit.

The PGM Penang Championship is the sixth event on this season’s ASEAN PGA Tour schedule and is co-sanctioned with the PGM Tour.