Rizman Leads In Malaysia

The first day of the Selangor Masters, in Malaysia, saw Airil Rizman take a first round lead with a score of 66, five under par for the course. The Malaysian, who has seen little success in recent years, leads by three shots going into the second round.

Rizman had come close to quitting golf after struggling to find form lately but has come back in style here, and a round with five birdies is a great achievement at the Seri Selangor Golf Club. There are seven players trailing him in second, among them Australians Scott Hend and Brad Smith.

The contest is worth around $300,000 to the winner, a purse that would be a welcome boost to Rizman after years in the wilderness. The 32 year old took the Pakistan Open in 2007, his first major open on the Asian Tour, and things looked bright indeed, yet the following two years produced nothing but frustration for Rizman.

Earlier this year he underwent a major rethink of his game, bringing back his old coach Andrew Argus and changing to clubs that he had used previously, and the results have been notable in terms of improvement. The Malaysian is clearly pleased with his performance today, explaining:

“I never thought I would shoot this low. I got lucky a few times and I would love for the luck to continue till Saturday. I hit a few good shots on my back nine and holed all my putts. It’s been a while since I last played well. There have been so many factors (to his poor form) but mostly, it’s me. I should have not approached the game differently after winning. There were occasions when I couldn’t get myself to tournaments. I started doing something else as it was so frustrating. Today was nice but it is still early days yet.”

Rizman had opened his own academy in recent times and considered leaving the professional game to concentrate on that aspect, but is back in form here at what may be a crucial point in his career.