Peterson stays in title hunt at 2018 Sarawak Championship

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Paul Peterson of the United States maintained his lead at the US$300,000 Sarawak Championship by shooting a second round five-under-par 67 on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Peterson, who is playing in his second Asian Tour event after taking a six-week break, stayed ahead of the chasing pack on 14-under-par 130 at the inaugural Asian Tour event.

The in-form Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand kept up his chase for a second successive victory after posting a 66 to share second place with John Catlin of the United States (65) and Kevin Lee of Korea (65).

Thai legend Thammanoon Sriroj produced the tournament’s first hole-in-one when he aced the par-three eighth hole with a pitching wedge from 137 yards. He ended the day on a 73 to make the cut on the number. A total of 72 players qualified for the last two rounds on 141.

A recharged Peterson fired six birdies against one bogey but the highlight of his round came when he holed a clutch 20-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole. He was delighted to rediscover his form after visiting his family in the United States.

Jazz is on track to become the first player to win back-to-back titles on the Asian Tour since Lee Westwood in 2011. The young Thai eagled the 17th hole from 24 feet to trail Peterson by two shots.  

Did you know?

  • Peterson dropped only one shot today on the par-three 15th hole. It is his only dropped shot in 36 holes.
  • He missed only one green in regulation and found 12 out of 14 fairways in a round of six birdies.
  • When Peterson held a share of the lead at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open in January, he went on to win his first Asian Tour title.
  • A left-handed player, Peterson won his first European Tour title in 2016 at the Czech Masters.
  • Peterson is currently ranked eighth on the Habitat for Humanity Standings. He is the second highest ranked player in the elite field.
  • Lee of Korea is playing in his first season on the Asian Tour. He posted a bogey-free 65, which is also his lowest on the Asian Tour.
  • At the age of 25, Lee is aiming to become the first Asian Tour rookie to win this year.
  • Catlin won his first Asian Tour title at the Asia-Pacific Classic in China in May.
  • Before his victory, Catlin was a regular on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) where he won two titles. He also played at the Damai course on the ADT last year where he finished in second place.
  • Jazz holed a 24-foot eagle putt on the 17th hole to stay on track to win back-to-back titles. He produced four straight birdies from the ninth hole to trail the leader by two shots.
  • The Sarawak Championship will be Jazz’s last tournament before he heads to The Open for his Major debut.
  • Thammanoon produced his career’s second hole-in-one. He birdied the next hole to narrowly survive the halfway cut.

Player Quotes:

Paul Peterson (Usa) – Second Round 67 (-5), Total 130 (-14)

I was talking to my coaches after the round yesterday and the message was to stay patient. I came out to get off to a hot start again so that felt really good to get a couple of putts to fall early. That always helps you work your way into the round. It was nice to roll one in on 10 and made another unexpected one on 11.

Yes, I always try to talk to my coach after a round. That’s pretty much a routine to give them a review on how the golf ball is doing, on how under control or out of control it is. We got a pretty good system, they are not only coaches but they are people who I enjoy being with outside the golf course. It is easy to get on the phone and chat with them.

Physically and mentally I feel refresh as I’ve ever been in a long time. That part is the best it has been since I can remember. I’m in a good place, I feel healthy and feel fit. There are a lot of scoring opportunities out here so I’m going to keep it the same – keep the ball on the fairways and try to make birdies. I guess that’s the recipe to success out here.

I have two coaches who I work with right now. Patrick McGuire and Oscar Coetzee, who is more my mental coach.

Jazz Janewattannanond (Tha) – Second Round 66 (-6), Total 132 (-12)

It was another good day in office. I started off quite slowly but I hole some late birdies and an eagle so I’m really happy. I’m on the wrong side of the draw because yesterday morning it was windy and today I heard from my friends that it wasn’t windy so we got a bad draw there but I’m still happy with my score.

I know more about the course after playing three rounds here (including one practice round). I come here to play golf. It is all about the action on the course. I’m not thinking about another win yet.

(On the eagle on the 17th hole). I thought I was going to miss it but I had my two hands up in celebration when it went it. I really didn’t think it would go in!

Kevin Lee (Kor) – Second Round 65 (-7), Total 132 (-12)

It was a pretty good round. I made a lot of good putts but if anything, I felt like I should have hit my approach shots closer. Overall it was still a very good round. So far, yes this is my best score on the Asian Tour.

I drove the ball really the last two days and that obviously sets up my approach shots better. I felt really good over mid-range putts and that really helps when you hole those putts.

My experience has been good so far on the Asian Tour. There’s a lot of travelling but I guess the experience of playing in China (in 2017) has helped. I saw some of my friends enjoyed success on the Asian Tour so I decided to join Qualifying School earlier this year.

I grew up in the United States (California) so playing on the Asian Tour sorts of bring me back to my roots. I’ve not fully explored Korea yet but hopefully I’ll get to do that someday.

John Catlin (Usa) – Second Round 65 (-7), Total 132 (-12)

It is always nice to go bogey free and shoot seven birdies. I got hot with my putter on my homeward nine (started from hole 10) and holed birdies which I didn’t even tried to make. It was one of those kind of days where things just go your way.

You want to have a chance to win but we still have a long way more to go. You have to keep making birdies so I have to stay on the gas pedal. Things started to click and make more sense about a year and a half ago. It is just a continuation of that.

This is my second time in Sarawak. I played on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) here last year and finished second! So I have some good memories on this track. Anytime you can have a competitive round on a golf course is an added advantage. I was definitely excited to come back and improve on my good memories.

Scores after round 2 of the Sarawak Championship being played at the par 72, 6970 Yards Damai GC course (am – denotes amateur):
130 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 63-67.
132 – Kevin LEE (KOR) 67-65, John CATLIN (USA) 67-65, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 66-66.
133 – Javi COLOMO (ESP) 66-67, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 67-66.
135 – Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 68-67, Himmat RAI (IND) 68-67, Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 66-69.
136 – John Michael O’TOOLE (USA) 68-68, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 67-69, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 68-68, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 69-67, Mark BROWN (NZL) 65-71.
137 – Quincy QUEK (SIN) 70-67, Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) 71-66, Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 69-68, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 70-67, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 69-68, James MARCHESANI (AUS) 69-68, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 67-70, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 70-67, Sihwan KIM (USA) 67-70.

To download full results, please click here.

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