Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung fired a fantastic eight-under-par 64 to open up a four-shot lead after the third round of the PGM Johor Championship on Friday.
The 24-year-old Fung, who won the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit crown in 2013, sizzled with one eagle, seven birdies and one bogey at the Johor Golf and Country Club to lead from overnight co-leaders R. Nachimuthu of Malaysia and Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing, who carded matching 69s.
Japan’s Masaru Takahashi, a one-time winner on the ADT, matched Fung’s low round of the day with a near similar card to end the day in fourth place and five shots off the lead in the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) ADT event.
“Sometimes, you get days like this,” said Fung, who leads on 19-under-par 197.
“Everything went well. Almost every putt I hit, it went in. I struck it good and the approach shots were good. I just felt really good on the greens and I read the lines well. I warmed up much better this morning and spent more time stretching and hitting balls on the range. I felt good from the first hole.
“I have a good chance to win tomorrow.”
Fung, who chipped in for eagle on the par five 11th hole, reckons he needs to reach 23 or 24-under on Saturday to emerge victorious and earn the all-important six Official World Golf Ranking points for the winner which will boost his hopes of qualifying for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year.
“Another day to work tomorrow,” he said. “If someone shoots eight under, he can catch up. So, I will need another low round, maybe 23 or 24 under would be the target. I haven’t won on the ADT for a while (since 2013), hopefully this is the first one for the year. It will also help in my hopes to qualify for the Olympics.”
One-time Asian Tour winner Lam, who played alongside Fung and Nachimuthu in the final group, said: “My round of 69 feels like a 75 next to Nicholas’ 64. I was just trying to hang on as I wasn’t hitting it good.
“We’ll see if Nicholas will give us a glimmer of hope tomorrow. He had such a fantastic round. We’re like playing for second place.”
Nachimuthu, chasing a first ADT win, was disappointed to drop a three-putt bogey on the last hole. “I made one or two mistakes, three putted 18 and also missed a makeable birdie on 17. I’ll need to hit it better tomorrow. Nicholas is leading by a bit but who knows, maybe I can shoot a 64 as well. It’s always possible,” said the Malaysian.
Leading third round scores
197: Nicholas FUNG (Mas) 66-67-64
201: LAM Chih Bing Sin) 67-65-69, R. Nachimuthu (Mas) 64-68-69
202: Masaru TAKAHASHI (Jpn) 70-68-64
207: Sean RIORDAN (Nzl) 70-66-71, Gyeongjun LEE (Kor) 71-69-67
208: Lindsay RENOLDS (Can) 71-69-68
209: KOH Deng Shan (Sin) 71-69-69, Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 67-70-72, S. Murthy (Mas) 66-69-74
210: Tyler EKENBERG (USA) 70-71-69, Mohd Iylia JAMIL (Mas) 74-66-70, Wilson CHOO (Mas) 69-70-71,