CIMB Classic: Ben soldiers on while Kim struggles to keep pace

Ben Leong in action during the 2018 CIMB Classic golf championships at the TPC Kuala Lumpur October 12, 2018. — Bernama pic
Ben Leong in action during the 2018 CIMB Classic golf championships at the TPC Kuala Lumpur October 12, 2018. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — If Ben Leong had a better short game and putting he would be sitting at 10 or 11-under today as he gave himself plenty of birdie opportunities on ‘Moving Day’ at the US$7 million CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur today. He ended day three on 7-under par 209 and shares joint 38th place with three others.

After opening round of 68 and 70, Leong started the day at 6-under and birdied holes 1, 4 and 8 to move 9-under.

However the 11th hole has been his Achilles heel this week as he again double-bogeyed the Par 3 hole.

He recovered a shot when he birdied the 13th but another bogey on the par four 17th made it a 7-under par total for three days for the 31-year-old Sabahan.

“I definitely got to work on my chipping, wedge game and putting,” Leong told reporters after his round.

“It’s been a week of ups and downs. While I don’t expect myself to play great every day, I must ensure I’m at least scoring. That’s the secret.”

Leong  gave himself birdie chances on 6, 7, 9 and 10 where he put his ball within 15 feet of the hole but he couldn’t drain the putts. He had double bogeyed the par 3 11th hole yesterday (Friday) as well and he knew it was going to be difficult hole for him.

Leong however had a moment of brilliance when he drained a 60 footer on the 13th hole. With the final day tomorrow, Ben said he won’t change his approach too much but he will try not to think about his ‘jinx’ holes.

“I don’t want to get too carried away with myself and I will reset my mind for holes 10, 11 and 12 my jinx holes,” said Ben.

“I did make a 60 footer on the 13th hole. I just stepped up and drained the putt without thinking too much about the line. i have certain expectations for myself tomorrow on how I want to perform but for now let’s ignore all that.

“I’m going to put the ball in the fairway, put it on the green and try to make birdies.”

Malaysia’s other representative Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang didn’t have the best of days but he is making his debut and the experience is invaluable for the 23-year-old.

He finished at 6-over for the day to sit rock bottom of the 78 player field at 14-over par.

“I didn’t hit it good and when I miss the shots I’m missing it on the wrong side which makes it hard to make par,” Kim told Malay Mail.

“I feel skill based I’m not far from the rest. Just gotta be more consistent. These top players their misses are still playable. Mine aren’t.

“The problems compounded when I can’t predict where the shots are landing. Tomorrow (Sunday) I’m just going out to redeem myself and make as many birdies as I can.”