Sungai Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia, February 16: Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn carded a solid seven-under-par 65 to seize the halfway lead with countryman Panuwat Muenlek at the PGM Panasonic Malaysia Championship on Thursday.
Jakraphan, a one-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner, fired one eagle and six birdies against a bogey to sit atop the leaderboard on 11-under-par 133 total alongside overnight co-leader Panuwat, who signed for a 69, at the Kelab Rahman Putra.
American Brett Munson returned with a second straight 67 to settle one shot back in third place with Mohammad Wafiyuddin, who remained as the highest-placed Malaysian after signing for a 70 at the RM250,000 (approximately US$55,000) ADT event.
A total of 10 players, including American Lexus Keoninh (72), young Thai talent Suradit Yongcharoenchai (69), Singapore’s Quincy Quek (68) and K P Lin (66) of Chinese Taipei , shared fifth place on 137 in what is the second leg of the ADT schedule this season.
Panuwat, who won twice on the ADT last season, marked his card with five birdies against two bogeys to keep up his chase for a fourth victory on the secondary circuit. All three of his past victories were achieved in Malaysia.
“I didn’t manage to sink as many putts as I did yesterday. That was the main difference. But I hung in there and tried my best. Overall, the game is good. I made a 20-feet birdie putt on fifth. That was the longest putt I made today. I am happy,” said the 31-year-old Thai.
Panuwat lamented a missed opportunity on securing his Asian Tour card after finishing seventh on the 2016 ADT Order of Merit, just one rung away from the cut-off mark. The father of one, however, is determined to come back stronger this season.
“Winning on the ADT has given me a lot of confidence. Missing out on my Asian Tour card by one rung on the Merit rankings last year was disappointing but I had to pick myself up. Hopefully I can make the most from playing on the ADT again this year,” Panuwat added.
A total of 54 players made the halfway cut set at two-under-par 142 at the PGM Panasonic Malaysia Championship.
Muhammad Afif Fathi struck an ace on the par-three 12th hole with a six-iron from 165 metres to survive the halfway cut on the mark. He signed for a 73 and became the only local amateur to make it into the weekend rounds at the ADT event.
The leading Malaysian professional, not otherwise exempt, will receive an invitation to participate in the Panasonic Open Japan, a tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour, from April 20 to 23.
The winner of the PGM Panasonic Malaysia Championship will take home a winner’s prize purse of about US$9,500 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
Like all other ADT events, the tournament will also offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points to the top six players and ties based on a sliding scale.
The ADT, which is celebrating its seventh season this year, will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2018.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading second round scores:
133 - Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 64 69, Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 68 65
134 - Brett MUNSON (USA) 67 67, Mohammad WAFIYUDDIN (MAS) 64 70
137 - Lexus KEONINH (USA) 65 72, Blake SNYDER (USA) 69 68, LIU Yan-wei (CHN) 69 68, Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 68 69, K P LIN (TWN) 71 66, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 68 69, Rizal AMIN (MAS) 71 66, James BYRNE (SCO) 71 66, Quincy QUEK (SGP) 69 68, Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 67 70
138 - Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) 72 66, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 71 67, LOW Khai Jei (MAS) 68 70, Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 69 69, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 67 71, Narutoshi YAMAOKA (JPN) 71 67
139 - HSU Hao-sheng (TPE) 72 67, Youngjea BYUN (KOR) 64 75, Scott BARR (AUS) 70 69, Kento NAKAI (JPN) 68 71, Janne KASKE (FIN) 68 71, John Michael O’TOOLE (USA) 68 71, Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA) 67 72, Johnson POH (SGP) 69 70
140 - John CATLIN (USA) 70 70, Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA) 72 68, Sang LEE (CAN) 72 68, James BOWEN (USA) 68 72
141 - Leunkwang KIM (MAS) 69 72, R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 69 72, Mitchell SLORACH (SGP) 72 69, Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 69 72, George GANDRANATA (INA) 70 71, Kemarol BAHARIN (MAS) 69 72, Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN) 71 70, Phanuvich ONCHU (THA) 71 70, Teemu PUTKONEN (FIN) 69 72, Jordan IRAWAN (INA) 69 72, KOH Deng Shan (SGP) 70 71
About Asian Development Tour
The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.