Nitithorn and Lee share the lead at PGM Miri Championship

Fri 07 Sep 2018

Nitithorn and Lee share the lead at PGM Miri Championship

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Miri, Sarawak, September 7: Nitithorn Thippong of Thailand struggled in the closing stages at the PGM Miri Championship to tie for the lead with Han Lee of the United States following the penultimate round on Friday.

The 21-year-old Nitithorn was cruising on three-under before slipping back with bogeys on holes 14, 17 and 18 to return with an even-par 72 at the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Korean-American Lee, who is 19 years older than Nitithorn, posted a 71 to tie at the top of the leaderboard on five-under-par 211 at the Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club.

Tarik Can (67) of the United States, Kazuki Higa (70) of Japan and Mathiam Keyser (69) of South Africa were a further two shots back in third place as they stayed in contention at the PGM Miri Championship.

Nitithorn, who is currently placed second on the ADT Order of Merit, remained upbeat of his title chances despite his poor finish. He admits that it could have been worst  as he had hit his tee shot into the water hazard on the 18th hole.

“I don’t think I played badly, maybe only the last hole. I would have freaked out if I double-bogeyed the 18 but to save bogey is okay. I’m still confident because I had a good start and I gave myself many birdie looks. I just need to stay patient and calm,” said Nitithorn.

He is relishing the battle of generations with the experienced Lee, who is a former Asian Tour regular and also a winner on the Japan Golf Tour.

“I feel that I’m still in a good position to win but it will be very difficult playing against Lee because he is a good player and ismore experienced than me. I’ve played with so many good players in the last few months so I hope I can cope with the pressure,” Nitithorn added.

Lee traded three birdies against two bogeys to put himself in prime position to win his first ADT title. He finished tied second at the Taifong Open last month and hopes to go one position better in his third ADT event in 2018.

The winner of the PGM Miri Championship will receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.

Leading third round scores:

211 - Han LEE (USA) 68 72 71, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 70 69 72

213 - Tarik CAN (USA) 71 75 67, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 72 72 69, Kazuki HIGA (JPN) 72 71 70

214 - Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 74 72 68, Shakhawat SOHEL (BAN) 72 73 69, Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) 72 70 72, Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) 69 72 73

215 - Janne KASKE (FIN) 74 70 71

216 - Ben LEONG (MAS) 71 72 73, Poom PATTAROPONG (THA) 71 71 74

217 - Sydney CHUNG (USA) 75 72 70, Elki KOW (INA) 69 79 69, Justin DE LOS SANTOS (USA) 73 75 69

218 - Sam LEE (FIJ) 72 74 72

219 - Amir NAZRIN (MAS) 70 75 74, George GANDRANATA (INA) 71 77 71, Shinichi MIZUNO (JPN) 73 75 71

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.