Young pretenders Varadan and Yuan take spotlight

Young pretenders Varadan and Yuan take spotlight

Kuala lumpur: Young Malaysian rookie Khavish Varadan continued his dream debut in the US$1million Malaysian Open yesterday by taking a share of the halfway lead with Australian Kevin Yuan.

Varadan, who only turned professional last month, fired a six-under-par 65 for a tournament total of 13 under, while Yuan returned a 64 at The Mines Resort and Golf Club, Kuala Lumpur.

American John Catlin is one shot further back following a 65 in the Asian Tour's season opener.

Remarkably, this event also marks the first time that 23-year-old Varadan has played in a professional event as a pro, discounting his appearance in last month's Asian Tour Qualifying School.

He failed to earn his Tour card there, but his playing opportunities will certainly open up greatly should he become the first Malaysian to win this event tomorrow.

"It went according to a plan today," said Varadan. "It wasn't the easiest of rounds as the wind was swirling a little bit. I was struggling with the numbers but was striking the ball really good."

He was bogey-free with three birdies in each half.

Yuan, 26, is another young player looking for a breakthrough, especially after an impressive 2023 when he finished 31st on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, helped by a joint second place in the International Series Vietnam, and a fifth place in the International Series Thailand.

"Things obviously worked, just kept on trying to do the same things," he said.

Korean Koh Gun-Taek (65), Filipino Miguel Tabuena (65), and England's Steve Lewton (66) are tied for fifth.

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