Malaysia’s Arie Irawan stood on the brink of his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) win when he carded a third round six-under-par 65 to stretch his overnight advantage to five shots at the PGM Port Dickson Championship on Friday.
Starting the round with a two-shot advantage, the talented Malaysian traded one eagle and five birdies against a lone bogey for a three-day total of 17-under-par 196 to leave his rivals trailing in his wake at the Port Dickson Golf and Country Club.
Asian Tour rookie Ryan Yip of Canada, who also returned with a 65, climbed up the ranks to second place while local hope Khor Kheng Hwai stayed one shot back in third on 202 following a 66 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$60,000) ADT event.
American Brett Munson was well off the mark when he posted a 70 to take fourth place while Thailand’s Tirawat Kaewsiribandit and Australian Sam Brazel shared fifth on equal 204s at the PGM Port Dickson Championship, which is the 17th leg on the ADT schedule.
Arie, who turned professional in April 2013, took advantage of his recent good run of form and kept his momentum going in the race for a breakthrough victory.
“I had another solid round today. I didn’t miss any short putts. I managed to stay calm out there as I know anything can happen even though I was leading at the start of the round. I will go back and get enough rest later today so as to prepare well for the final round tomorrow,” said the 24-year-old Malaysian.
Arie is looking to maintain a positive state of mind when he continues his title charge.
“It’s my first time leading into the final round but I am not giving myself any pressure. I just want to take one day at a time and take my mind off from what’s going to happen tomorrow for now. I will continue to do what I’ve been doing and ride on the confidence that I’ve been feeling in my game,” added Arie.
Despite missing the grade at the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier this year, Arie remained hopeful that he can play his way back onto the region’s premier Tour by finishing inside the top-five on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season. He had chalked up six top-10 finishes this season to sit in sixth position as the highest-placed Malaysian on the current merit rankings.
Yip, who secured his Asian Tour card for the 2014 season at the Qualifying School, is hoping for a good performance this week to get himself ready for the upcoming tournaments on the Asian Tour.
“I hit a lot of fairways and greens today and I didn’t make any bogey. I’ve been practising a lot during the summer break and it’s good to see the good things showing up in my game this week. The season has not been too bad for me. Hopefully I can do well tomorrow to get ready for next week’s event on the Asian Tour,” said the 29-year-old Canadian.
Yip has enjoyed a relatively good season playing in his rookie year on the Asian Tour. Out of the five events he played, Yip made three cuts where he had never finish outside top-30.
Since its inauguration in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 20 tournaments in 2014. The top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn Asian Tour cards for 2015.
All ADT events also receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points which is a boost for the game in the region.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading third round scores:
196 – Arie IRAWAN (MAS) 65-66-65
201 – Ryan YIP (CAN) 69-67-65
202 – KHOR Kheng Hwai (MAS) 69-67-66
203 – Brett MUNSON (USA) 67-66-70
204 – Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 68-69-67, Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 68-67-69
205 – Guy WOODMAN (ENG) 69-69-67
207 – Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) 68-72-67
208 – Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 65-74-69, Nakarintra RATANAKUL (THA) 69-69-70, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 70-68-70, KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 68-70-70, Alex KANG (USA) 67-70-71