Indonesia’s George Gandranata edged closer to a first Asian Development Tour (ADT) win after shooting a four-under-par 67 to lead by one shot following the penultimate round of the PGM LADA Langkawi Championship on Friday.
Gandranata, who held a share of the overnight lead, nailed five birdies against a lone bogey to sit atop the leaderboard with a 13-under-par 200 total while Malcolm Kokocinski of Sweden took second place following a 68 at the Gunung Raya Golf Resorts.
Thai teenager Ekthumrong Luanganuruk made his move with the day’s best score of 63 to stay three shots off the pace in third place with Malaysia’s number one golfer Danny Chia, who signed for a second straight 68 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) event.
2013 ADT Order of Merit champion Nicholas Fung of Malaysia returned with a 66 to take fifth place with James Byrne (70) of Scotland while current Merit leader Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand carded a second consecutive 68 to tie in seventh with American Blake Snyder (67).
Gandranata, who held a one-shot advantage heading into the round, got off to a superb start with two straight birdies where he sank a 12-footer on first before making up and down from 30 yards on the second.
He added another birdie on sixth after sinking a 30-footer which was his highlight of the day but gave that shot up with a bogey on eighth. He went on to nail two more birdies on his way home.
“I played it the same like how I played the first two days. I hit a lot of greens and I played my short irons well. I got off to a good start and that helps. I tried my best out there and I had fun. I am playing a lot better now. Hopefully I can keep it the same tomorrow,” said Gandranata.
“We are playing in Langkawi this week and I am just trying to enjoy myself out here. I don’t want to think about the scores,” added the 30-year-old Indonesian, who has not finished outside top-20 in his last three starts on the region’s premier Tour.
Kokocinski, who led the opening round before sharing the halfway lead with Gandranata, believes putting will be the key to success when he heads into the all-important final round tomorrow.
“I played my own game today and I enjoyed it. You need to make a lot of puts to score out there. I think that would be the key to success tomorrow. Hopefully I can continue to give myself more opportunities tomorrow,” said the 24-year-old Swede, who marked his card with one eagle and three birdies against two bogeys.
He had tapped in for eagle on the par-five 10 after his approach shot with a six-iron from 200 yards hit the lip and spun out.
Meanwhile Ekthumrong was delighted to mark his personal best 18-hole score since turning professional last February.
“This is my best score ever. I am very happy with how I played. I putted really well today and I gave myself a lot of opportunities. I made a 30-foot putt on 12 for my longest putt of the day. I will try and stay focus tomorrow and try to hit as many fairways as I can,” said the 17-year-old Thai, who holed out a five-foot eagle on par-five 15 after hitting his three-wood from 230 yards.
The PGM LADA Langkawi Championship, jointly sanctioned with the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour, is the seventh leg of the 2016 ADT season and also the Tour’s sixth stop in Malaysia this season.
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 2017.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading third round results:
200 – George GANDRANATA (INA) 65 68 67
201 – Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 64 69 68
203 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 67 68 68, Ekthumrong LUANGANURUK (THA) 67 73 63
204 – Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 67 71 66, James BYRNE (SCO) 66 68 70
205 – Blake SNYDER (USA) 67 71 67, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 69 68 68
206 – Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 67 71 68, John JACKSON (USA) 70 66 70
207 – Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 66 72 69, Johnson POH (SIN) 69 70 68, Ben LEONG (MAS) 67 72 68, Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) 67 69 71
208 – Rizal AMIN (MAS) 70 67 71, CAO Yi (CHN) 67 69 72, Yuichiro NISHI (JPN) 70 70 68