Talented Sutijet Kooratanapisan of Thailand took advantage of his sharp-shooting approach shots to seize the halfway lead at the Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament after signing for a five-under-par 67 on Thursday.
The 27-year-old Thai, who opened his campaign with a 66, nailed seven birdies against two bogeys to seize a slender one-shot lead over American Jarin Todd on 11-under-par 133 total at the US$100,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Panuwat Muenlek, also of Thailand, returned with a flawless 67 to sit in third place on 135 while Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing and Michael Tran of Vietnam stayed a further shot back in fourth place following rounds of 67 and 66 respectively at the Damai Indah Golf, BSD course.
Malaysia’s Arie Irawan signed for the day’s lowest round of 65 to share sixth place on 137 with seven other players which include compatriot Danny Chia (70), American Brett Munson (68) and Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chieh-po (67).
Overnight leader Gavin Green of Malaysia carded a 74 to slip to tied-20th place on 139 while Order of Merit leader Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei unfortunately missed the halfway cut by six shots after returning with a 77.
Sutijet hopes to leverage on his recent good run of form in his bid for a breakthrough victory on the ADT, which was launched in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour.
The Thai has switched his focus onto the burgeoning Tour after failing to secure his Asian Tour card in the last two seasons. Since making his ADT debut in January, Sutijet has secured four top-10s in seven starts so far this season.
“My approach shots were very good today. I putted well too. I have been feeling good about my game since yesterday. It was quite challenging with the wind swirling in the afternoon and you have to read the greens properly as there are a lot of slopes,” said Sutijet.
Starting from the 10th hole, Sutijet stumbled with a bogey in his opening four holes but recovered strongly with seven birdies in his next 11 holes before dropping another shot on the eighth.
“I will try and keep it going into the last two rounds. It’s always good to be in the lead but I will not think so much about it. The season has not been too bad playing on the ADT and I am enjoying it so far. Hopefully I can secure my first ADT win this week,” added Sutijet.
Since it was inaugurated in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to 21 tournaments in 2014. A record 25 tournaments has been confirmed for the 2015 season.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the final Order of Merit 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 second round scores:
133 – Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 66-67
134 – Jarin TODD (USA) 66-68
135 – Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 68-67
136 – LAM Chih Bing (SIN) 69-67, Michael TRAN (VIE) 70-66
137 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 67-70, Brett MUNSON (USA) 69-68, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 70-67, Arie IRAWAN (MAS) 72-65, LEE Chieh-po (TPE) 70-67, Gyeongjun LEE (KOR) 66-71, Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) 71-66, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 70-67
138 – Tirto TAMARDI (A) (INA) 70-68, Blake SNYDER (USA) 68-70, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 69-69, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 67-71, Jordan SHEERRATT (AUS) 66-72, Annop TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 71-67