Panuwat Muenlek of Thailand took a step closer towards earning an Asian Tour card after sharing the third round lead with Mathiam Keyser of South Africa at the PGM MNRB Sarawak Championship on Friday.

Panuwat, a two-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner this year, needs one more victory to earn playing rights on the region’s premier Tour for the remainder of the 2016 season.

He fired a one-under-par 71 to tie for the lead with Keyser (70), who is searching for his first victory in Asia, on six-under-par 210 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) ADT event.

Danny Masrin of Indonesia and Nirun Sae-Ueng of Thailand were a further shot back in tied third place while overnight leader Micah Lauren Shin slipped to fifth place following a 76. He is bunched up alongside Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand, Koh Deng Shan of Singapore and Rick Kulacz of Australia on 212.

The 31-year-old Panuwat has been struggling with a cold putter in recent weeks but the decision to change his putting stance paid off as he charged into contention.

“It was difficult to find for birdies today because the pins were tucked in a difficult position. I’ve been putting very poorly lately so I talked to my coach and we changed my putting address and stance. I’m more confident on the greens now,” said Panuwat.

He is on the brink of fighting his way onto the Asian Tour but will not get ahead of himself as he prepares for the all-important final round.

“I’m not thinking too much about my Asian Tour card because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. If I win then good but if I don’t then no problem. I will just try again. I love golf so I’m just happy to be playing this sport,” said Panuwat.

Standing in his way is South Africa’s Keyser, who mixed his card with five birdies and three bogeys. Playing in his fourth year in Asia, he hopes to finally land his first ADT title.

“I’ve been playing really solid for the last three days. Nothing special, just hitting fairways and greens. The season has been pretty decent and I’m starting to get into my groove in Asia. It took me a while but I’ve been consistent. A win would always be nice. I haven’t had a win in Asia hopefully I can pull it off,” said Keyser.

The ADT will reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2017.

Like all other ADT events, the PGM MNRB Sarawak Championship will offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points to the top six players and ties based on a sliding scale.

For more information on the ADT, please visit


Leading third round scores:

210 – Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 70 70 70, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 69 70 71

211 – Danny MASRIN (INA) 70 69 72, Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 67 71 73

212 – KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 74 68 70, Rick KULACZ (AUS) 69 72 71, Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 75 70 67, Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) 68 68 76

214 – Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 70 74 70, Quincy QUEK (SIN) 74 66 74

215 – Mitchell SLORACH (SIN) 73 70 72, Hans JAMIL (MAS) 74 68 73

217 – KHOR Kheng Hwai (MAS) 72 70 75, LIU Yan-wei (CHN) 71 73 73, CHOO Tze Huang (SIN) 76 71 70, Josh SALAH (USA) 74 73 70, Abel TAM (MAS) 70 75 72, Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) 69 71 77, James BYRNE (SCO) 76 70 71

218 – Arie Irawan (MAS) 74 70 74, HSIEH Chi-hsien (TWN) 73 72 73, Darren TAN (AUS) 69 71 78

219 – John Michael O’TOOLE (USA) 72 71 76, Baxter REEVES (USA) 69 75 75, Rizal AMIN (MAS) 73 73 73, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 73 73 73, Mohd Iylia JAMIL (MAS) 74 71 74

220 – Brandon LAU Ka Kin (MAS) 73 70 77, Motonari NAKAGAWA (JPN) 76 72 72, Shaifubari MUDA (MAS) 72 78 70, Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 74 73 73, M. Sasidaran (MAS) 71 75 74

221 – James BOWEN (USA) 76 72 73, Annop TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 71 73 77, Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA) 71 74 76, Blake SNYDER (USA) 74 72 75

222 – Wilson CHOO (MAS) 72 76 74

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