Trio shares opening honours at PGM MIDF Championship

Wed 17 Oct 2018

Trio shares opening honours at PGM MIDF Championship


Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, October 17: Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat fired a five-under-par 67 to share the opening round lead with compatriot Donlaphatchai Niyomchon and American Tarik Can at the PGM MIDF Championship on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Itthipat, who is chasing for his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory, traded six birdies against one bogey at the RM225,000 (approx. US$58,000) event staged at Kota Seriemas Golf and Country Club.

The leading trio hold a one-shot advantage over Thailand’s Pisitchai Thippong, local veteran M. Sasidaran and American Sam Gillis, who shared fourth place on matching 68s. Four other players, including Amir Nazrin of Malaysia, lurked two shots off the pace in tied-seventh.  

Itthipat nailed three birdies in his opening six holes before dropping a shot on hole seven to turn in 34. He went on to add three more birdies on his way home for a commendable round of 67.

“I hit a lot of good approach shots to within 15 feet which gave me a lot of opportunities to make birdies. The only mistake I made was on hole seven where I rushed my downhill birdie putt and ended up three-putting for bogey. I was very calm the entire round and just played with no expectations,” said Itthipat, who missed only three greens in his opening round.

Donlaphatchai, who enjoyed a fifth-place finish last week, rode on his fine form by carding seven birdies against two bogeys to sit atop the leaderboard.  

“The greens are in good condition and I putted really well today. It was a pretty steady round and I didn’t make many mistakes. I was hitting it close on a lot of holes too,” said the 28-year-old Donlaphatchai.

Sasidaran, 41, credited his solid iron-game which saw him miss only three greens in regulation.

“I played well and was striking it well. I only missed four fairways today and I was hitting it close on a lot of holes. I am going to stick to my game plan of hitting fairways and greens tomorrow,” said Sasidaran.

The leading seven players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour for the 2019 season.

All ADT events are afforded with Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points with the winner earning a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.

Leading first round scores:

67 - Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) , Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) , Tarik CAN (USA)

68 - M. Sasidaran (MAS) , Pisitchai THIPPONG (THA) , Sam GILLIS (USA)

69 - Amir NAZRIN (MAS) , Naoki SEKITO (JPN) , Hyukchul SHIN (KOR) , Matt KILLEN (ENG)



About Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading seven players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.