Nitithorn leads the way at PGM Miri Championship

Thu 06 Sep 2018

Nitithorn leads the way at PGM Miri Championship

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Miri, Sarawak, September 6: Young Thai talent Nitithorn Thippong powered into the halfway lead after posting a three-under-par 69 at the PGM Miri Championship on Thursday. 

The 21-year-old, who is ranked second on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit, leads on a five-under-par 139 total but has experienced duo Han Lee of the United States and Miguel Carballo of Argentina breathing down his neck.

Overnight leader Lee, a former Asian Tour regular and winner on the Japan Golf Tour, trails by one-shot in second place after shooting a 72 while current Merit leader Carballo (72)is a further shot back in third place.

Thailand’s Poom Pattaropong and Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij registered a 71 and 70 respectively to lie in fourth place on 142 at the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) ADT event.

Ben Leong, who won his second ADT title last month, was the best placed Malaysian in tied sixth place with Kazuki Higa of Japan at the challenging Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club.

The in-form Nitithorn got off to a slow start with a bogey on the 11th hole but a birdie on the tricky par-four 14th hole gave him the impetus to shoot three other birdies on his homeward nine to take the lead.

“I was disappointed to miss my four-feet par putt but very happy to birdie the 14th hole which is the most difficult hole on this course. After that, I had more fun and confidence on the back nine,” said Nitithorn, who started the round trailing by two shots following an opening 70

He is enjoying a sensational season on the ADT this year where he has won one title and claimed six top-10 finishes. Nitithorn had previously held the Merit lead for 13 consecutive weeks before Carballo took over with his victory in Indonesia two weeks ago.

Trailing by about US$11,000 in second place on the Order of Merit, Nitithorn has to work hard to pip former PGA Tour player Carballo to the top spot.

“It is difficult to win the Order of Merit because Miguel is a very consistent player. I’ve played with him before on the ADT and he drives the ball straight, hits it on the green and his putting is so good. I have a very important few weeks ahead of me and I’ll do my best,” said Nitithorn.

A total of 51 players made the cut which was set at nine-over-par 153.

The winner of the PGM Miri Championship will receive six 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 second round scores:

139 - Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 70 69

140 - Han LEE (USA) 68 72

141 - Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) 69 72

142 - Poom PATTAROPONG (THA) 71 71, Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) 72 70

143 - Kazuki HIGA (JPN) 72 71, Ben LEONG (MAS) 71 72

144 - Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 72 72, Janne KASKE (FIN) 74 70

145 - Amir NAZRIN (MAS) 70 75, Shakhawat SOHEL (BAN) 72 73

146 - Sam LEE (FIJ) 72 74, Tarik CAN (USA) 71 75, Chanat SAKULPOLPHAISAN (THA) 72 74, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 74 72, Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 73 73

147 - Jeremy WENDELKEN (USA) 72 75, Kwanchai TANNIN (THA) 72 75, Sydney CHUNG (USA) 75 72, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 72 75, LAM Yu Shuen (MAS) 75 72

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.