Two share halfway lead at PGM MNRB Championship

Thu 13 Sep 2018

Two share halfway lead at PGM MNRB Championship

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Sarawak, Malaysia, September 13: Homegrown talent Shahriffuddin Ariffin of Malaysia carded a one-under-par 71 in the second round to share the halfway lead with American Justin De Los Santos who returned with a 68 at the PGM MNRB Championship on Thursday.

The duo lead on a nine-under-par 135 total, two shots ahead of England’s Matt Killen (69) and American Tarik Can (71) who were tied for third on 137 at the RM225,000 (approx. US$58,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Thailand’s Nattawat Suvajanakorn and Itthipat Buranatanyarat along with Japan’s Yutaka Araki, posted matching 69s to share fifth place with India’s Samarth Dwivedi (66) on a 138 total at the Damai Golf and Country Club.

The 18-year-old Shahriffuddin, who claimed his maiden ADT victory in Labuan last month, stayed patient despite struggling on the greens to keep himself in contention for his second ADT victory of the season.

“I was struggling with the speed on the greens today and I wasn’t dropping any putts in the first couple of holes. I three-putted twice in a row on holes 11 and 12 and was getting frustrated. But whenI chipped in for birdie on hole 14, that gave me a little bit of confidence,” said the Malaysian who totaled 29 putts in his second round.

“I made a lot of up-and-downs today and chipped in on holes two and 14 which helped a lot. I kept telling myself to just focus on each hole and just take pars and move on. I am very happy with my position now and will focus on doing the same thing for the next two days,” added Shahriffuddin who traded four birdies against three bogeys.

Starting the round three shots off the pace, De Los Santos drained a monster putt from the fringe to make birdie on his very first hole, before reeling in eight pars to make the turn at 35.

“It was pretty up and down today for me. I wasn’t striking it well so I was scrambling around the first couple of holes. On hole two I hit my drive into the hazard and had to take a drop. But I made a good save for par from 25-feet,” said De Los Santos.

The 23-year-old ADT rookie grabbed another birdie on hole 10 and two dropped shots on holes 11 and 12, but would find some momentum on his way home to make four consecutive birdies for a 33 in his back nine.

“I wasn’t ever really panicking about my round and just tried to keep a consistent momentum throughout. I knew I would make a couple of birdies coming in and luckily, I made those two longer putts on holes 15 and 16 to give me a boost,” added the American, who joined the play-for-pay ranks last August.

The halfway cut was set at one-over-par 145 with 51 players advancing into the weekend rounds.

The winner of the PGM MNRB Championship will receive six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.

Leading second round scores:

135 - Justin DE LOS SANTOS (USA) 67 68, Shahriffuddin ARIFFIN (MAS) 64 71

137 - Tarik CAN (USA) 66 71, Matt KILLEN (ENG) 68 69

138 - Yutaka ARAKI (JPN) 69 69, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 69 69, Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA) 69 69, Samarth DWIVEDI (IND) 72 66

139 - Janne KASKE (FIN) 69 70, Amir NAZRIN (MAS) 67 72, Mohammad WAFIYUDDIN (MAS) 69 70, George GANDRANATA (INA) 70 69, Rizal AMIN (MAS) 69 70, Johnson POH (SGP) 70 69

140 - Quincy QUEK (SGP) 70 70, Philip MATSSON (THA) 72 68, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 68 72, Shinichi MIZUNO (JPN) 71 69, Greg MOSS (USA) 71 69, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 71 69, Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 71 69

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 Web.com 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.