Peterson holds slim lead at 2018 Sarawak Championship

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Paul Peterson of the United States posted a bogey-free three-under-par 69 to hold a narrow one-shot lead over countryman John Catlin in the third round of the Sarawak Championship on Friday.

Peterson, who won his first Asian Tour title in January, fired three birdies on his homeward nine to hold on to his lead for the third straight day on 17-under-par 199 at the Damai Golf and Country Club.

Catlin kept up his chase for a second Asian Tour title following a 68 while Thailand’s Danthai Boonma (68), who will play in The Open in a fortnight, and Spaniard Javi Colomo (68) are a further shot back in third place.

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar also charged into contention with a sparkling 66 to share fifth place with Thailand’s Peradol Panyathanasedh (67) on a 202 total at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.

Southpaw player Peterson started with nine straight pars before birdies on holes 10, 13 and 16 earned him a slight edge heading into the final 18 holes. The American continued his fine form after dropping only one shot in 54 holes.

The 27-year-old Catlin has unfinished business this week after finishing second on this course on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) last year. The American sank a clutch birdie putt from 18 feet on the 17th hole to stay within striking distance.

Thailand’s Boonma birdied the last two holes to put himself in prime position to end a three-year title drought on the Asian Tour. This will be his final event before he heads to Carnoustie for his Major debut at The Open.  

Did you know?

  • Peterson only dropped one bogey in the second round. In 54 holes, the American has snared a total of 18 birdies.
  • He won his first Asian Tour title at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open in January but since then has struggled to find his winning form.
  • The Sarawak Championship is the second Asian Tour event Peterson is playing in after taking a six-week break to visit his family in the United States.
  • Peterson holds the low round this week following his opening 63.
  • Catlin is enjoying one of his best seasons so far on the Asian Tour. He won his first Asian Tour title in May and has notched three other top-10 results. He only missed one cut in seven appearances so far on the Asian Tour.
  • He is currently ranked 15th on the Habitat for Humanity Standings and will battle with countryman Peterson to become the first player in 2018 to win multiple Asian Tour titles.
  • Like Peterson, Catlin was also flawless in the penultimate round.
  • Danthai won his first Asian Tour title at the 2015 World Classic Championship in Singapore. He has two top-10s so far this year but the most significant was a tied fourth place result at the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open (The Open Qualifying Series) which earned him a ticket to the year’s third Major championship.
  • Colomo is an Asian Tour regular who is searching for a first Asian Tour title. This is the first time in 2018 where he is in contention. Last week he secured his best result on the Asian Tour in 2018 with a tied 12th place finish.
  • Bhullar finished second at the Queen’s Cup in Thailand last week. It was his second runner-up result following The 37th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship in Korea in May.
  • He found 14 out of 14 fairways and missed only one green in regulation. He totalled 25 putts and is in good position to launch a title assault for a ninth Asian Tour title.

Player quotes:

Paul Peterson (Usa) – Third Round 69 (-3), Total 199 (-17)

It did take me a while to get hot. The group seems to survive the first few holes. Nobody really did much and John (Catlin) made a couple of putts. I didn’t really feel that the pin positions suited my game with the wind direction. There were a lot of left pins with left to right wind and I tend to draw the ball.

I tried to stay as patient as I could and hit the ball to the middle of the green and not try to get greedy. I knew that after the turn I will have more opportunities to score. I expected the front nine to be a bit slower unless I made a putt.

I feel like I got a lot out of my round. I had a lot of momentum pars which led to the birdies on the back nine. Hopefully I can get the putter a little bit hotter. The game felt solid and another bogey free day so those are always fun.

I can’t control what the other players do. I just need to make as many birdies as I can. More of the same in terms of cutting the bogeys to a minimum. I will tell my coach that I had a lot out of my round and that I’m happy with things. We will probably just have a laugh tonight.

John Catlin (Usa) – Third Round 68 (-4), Total 200 (-16)

You always want to have a chance going into the last round. To be in this position is why I work all those hours. It is always exciting chasing down a trophy. He (Paul Peterson) is playing well and I’m playing well, it is going to be a good battle. The birdie on 17 was really good. I was just coasting along until that birdie on 17 (18 feet) came. That was nice.

I’ve won on the Asian Tour now so the experience will certainly help. Being able to look yourself in the mirror and honestly say that I’ve been here before and won. There’s no substitute for that.

Danthai Boonma (Tha) – Third Round 68 (-4), Total 201 (-15)

I played really good. Everything seems good for me now. My approach shots to the green are really good and I’m giving myself a lot of birdie chances. I don’t want to think about the win yet. I want to stay focus on my game.

Javi Colomo (Esp) – Third Round 68 (-4), Total 201 (-15)

My game is in a very good shape. I’m really happy with my game. Golf is very funny. At the Korea Open, I finished third to last. The feeling was not that bad but my scores have been very poor. I kept believing in myself and after the Korea Open, I’ve learned a lot. You can see my score at the Queen’s Cup.

I missed the putt on the last hole to miss out on a top-10 finish but that’s okay. I was very proud of myself and I’m giving myself a lot of chances this week. I’m 15-under but my score should be better. Hopefully the best score will happen on the last day.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) – Third Round 66 (-6), Total 202 (-14)

I hit the ball really good. I hit all the fairways and missed only three greens. Overall it was a good day in terms of ball striking. I got off to a good start with two birdies and that gave me a lot of boost and confidence.

I’m happy to be in this position. I’ve been striking the ball really good in the last four months. The trick is all mental now. If I’m able to do the same thing in the last few days, I will be happy with my game.

It looks like it will be an exciting final round. It looks like the guy who is leading is playing some good golf. Golf is a funny sport and anything is possible. Everybody is giving their 100% and so am I. I’ll go out there and do my best.

Game wise, I’m feeling really confident and I’ve been converting a lot of good scores and giving myself a lot of opportunities.


Scores after round 3 of the Sarawak Championship being played at the par 72, 6970 Yards Damai GC course (am – denotes amateur):

199 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 63-67-69.

200 – John CATLIN (USA) 67-65-68.

201 – Danthai BOONMA (THA) 67-66-68, Javi COLOMO (ESP) 66-67-68.

202 – Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 68-68-66, Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 66-69-67.

203 – Mark BROWN (NZL) 65-71-67, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 66-66-71, Kevin LEE (KOR) 67-65-71.

204 – Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 68-67-69.

205 – Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS) 69-69-67, Matt STIEGER (AUS) 71-67-67, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 67-70-68, James MARCHESANI (AUS) 69-68-68, Himmat RAI (IND) 68-67-70.”

206 – Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 69-69-68, Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) 68-71-67, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 67-69-70.

207 – Mitchell SLORACH (SIN) 66-73-68, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 70-69-68, Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA) 69-69-69, Gareth PADDISON (NZL) 68-70-69, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 72-67-68, Sihwan KIM (USA) 67-70-70, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 70-67-70, Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) 71-66-70.

To download full results please click here.

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