Nitithorn heads to the top at weather-hit PGM Maybank ADT Championship

Fri 30 Nov 2018

Nitithorn heads to the top at weather-hit PGM Maybank ADT Championship


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 30: Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong took over the lead by signing for a four-under-par 68 after completing his remaining 11 holes from his second round at the PGM Maybank ADT Championship on Friday morning. 

Play for the second round at the season-ending Asian Development Tour (ADT) event could not be completed as rain had disrupted play for more than three hours on the opening day at the Saujana Golf and Country Club. 

Tropical storms caused further delays in the afternoon with only players from the morning session completing their rounds on Thursday.

Nitithorn, who ended his first round in third place, enjoyed an encouraging start with two birdies in his first three holes. He dropped a shot on the par-four five and parred the next two holes before the sirens blew again for the suspension of play.

The Thai resumed his round with four birdies to sign for a two-day total of nine-under-par 135 total.

“I’m happy to be in the lead but anything can happen on this course. I don’t want to be too carried away. It’s important to hit your tee shots well on this course as you’ll be in trouble if you don’t. I hope to continue driving the ball well later,” said Nitithorn, who has one win and four top-10s on the ADT this year.

Japan’s Shinichi Mizuno had earlier set the clubhouse target after he managed to complete his second round with a 66.

He took advantage of his astute iron play to set himself up well for the final two rounds.

“I hit lots of good iron shots and I putted really well. It was a good 66. However, I’m very tired as I had to complete five holes from my first round in the morning and had to go straight back to the tee to start my second round. All I’m looking forward to now is to have a good rest and be recharged for the last 36 holes,” said the 25-year-old

Playing in his first year on the ADT, Mizuno has enjoyed six top-10s and is currently in 18th place on the Order of Merit.

He knows the importance of breaking into the top-seven on the money list and is determined to end the year on a positive note.

“I’m pretty satisfied with how my first year has gone. But I know I need a win to break into the top-seven and earn my Asian Tour card for 2019. That’s the only thing I’m focused on for  this week and I hope it will end in my favour,” said Mizuno.

Thailand’s Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij, who is in second place on the Order of Merit, aims to dislodge Argentina’s Miguel Carballo from his pole position after matching his first round efforts with another 70.

“Of course I’m aiming for a win as I want to win the Order of Merit. But I’m also aware of the challenges as many of the players here also want to do well.

“This is a very challenging golf course and I’m happy to be in the mix after two rounds,”  said Varanyu at the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) event.

The cut was set at five-over with 50 players progressing into the last two rounds.

The PGM Maybank ADT Championship will draw the curtains on what has been a enthralling season on the ADT, which is the secondary circuit of the Asian Tour.

Apart from the crowning of the 2018 ADT Order of Merit champion this week, there is also the exciting race to finish inside the top-seven place on the money list where players will earn their Asian Tour cards for next season. 

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