Thai teenager Danthai Boonma continued his imperious form by carding a second straight three-under-par 69 to take over the lead in the penultimate round of the PGM Sabah Championship on Friday.
The 19-year-old Thai mixed his card with six birdies against three bogeys for a three-day total of six-under-par 210 to stay one shot ahead of Malaysia’s Danny Chia, who signed for a second consecutive 72, at the Sabah Golf and Country Club.
Thailand’s Thammanoon Sriroj returned with a flawless 66 to surge into third place on 212 in the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event, which is the 10th leg of the schedule this season.
Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan, Thailand’s Sutijet Kooratanapisan and 2013 Order of Merit champion Nicholas Fung of Malaysia stayed a further shot back in fourth place following rounds of 72, 73 and 73 respectively.
Danthai, who started the day with a three-shot deficit, credited his driver for playing a pivotal role in securing the pole position heading into the final round.
“I hit the ball good. My tee shots were good and I hit a lot of fairways today. I have been working on my swing prior to this week. I’m glad the efforts are starting to pay off,” said Danthai, who earned his 2015 Asian Tour card after finishing inside top-40 at the Qualifying School in January.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t putt as well. I missed a few short putts today but overall, I am happy with how I’ve played so far. Hopefully I can hang in there to win tomorrow,” added Danthai, a double South East Asia (SEA) Games gold medalist in 2012.
The 42-year-old Chia, who held the first round lead, conceded that he would need to rediscover some magic in his putter should he wish to take home the winner’s trophy tomorrow.
“My putting hasn’t been good these two days but I’m still hitting the ball well. I’ll stick to the same game plan and hopefully get some putts to drop tomorrow,” said the two-time ADT winner, who traded three birdies against three bogeys.
The winner of the PGM Sabah Championship will take home US$9,560 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
Since it was inaugurated as a gateway to the Asian Tour in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in both 2014 and 2015.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading third round scores
210 – Danthai BOONMA (THA) 72-69-69
211 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 67-72-72
212 – Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 74-72-66
213 – KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 70-71-72, Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 70-70-73, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 73-67-73
214 – Nils FLOREN (SWE) 72-71-71, Tyler EKENBERG (USA) 78-69-67, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 68-72-74, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 72-68-74, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 70-69-75, Zen DHARMARATNE (MAS) 70-68-76
215 – Brett MUNSON (USA) 74-71-70, Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 73-69-73, YE Jian-feng (CHN) 71-69-75