Shah Alam, Malaysia, March 17: Malaysia’s Ben Leong extended his blemish-free run to 36 holes after signing for a stunning second round 10-under-par 62 at the PGM Northport Championship, which has been reduced to 54 holes due to inclement weather on Friday.
The 30-year-old Leong, who opened with a 64 to lead by one on Wednesday, continued his dominance by firing two eagles and six birdies, romping to a commanding eight-shot lead on 18-under-par 126 total at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club’s Gardens course.
James Byrne of Scotland and Steve Lewton of England shared second place on 134 following rounds of 69 and 68 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$44,600) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event, which is the third leg of the schedule this season.
Leong, who is chasing for a maiden ADT win, took advantage of his pinpoint approach shots and a brilliant short game to cap a solid round, which saw him broke his own personal 18-hole record.
It could have been a new course record at the Gardens course and the lowest 36-hole score on the ADT if not for the preferred lies ruling in place.
“I was just able to hit the right shots at the right time. I chipped in for eagle on 16 from about 16 yards and made another one on sixth where I sank a 25-footer after finding the green in two.
“I have had two eagles in a round before but this is the first time I shot a 62 so it was a special round,” said Leong.
Leong, a one-time winner on the Asian Tour in 2008, had sensationally claimed five straight victories on his domestic Tour at the end of last season before regaining his Asian Tour card at the 2017 Qualifying School in January, where he came in fourth. In one of his five straight wins on the local circuit, Leong had claimed a massive 20-shot victory.
“I had a day off yesterday due to the weather delay so I managed to get some rest. I am happy with my position right now but I will just continue to play my game. Nothing special really, I just want to have fun out there,” added Leong.
Leong did not manage to tee off for his second round on Thursday as play was suspended for more than six hours in the afternoon due to lightning threats. He was amongst the 82 players who returned on Friday morning to complete their rounds.
The third round of the PGM Northport Championship, originally scheduled to start after 2.45pm, suffered a two-hour delay due to lightning threats on Friday afternoon.
With more than eight hours of play lost in two days at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, the tournament committee has decided to reduce the tournament to 54 holes.
“We have decided to reduce the tournament to 54 holes as the second round was affected by length weather delays on Thursday and Friday. The decision was made in the best interest of the tournament and our ADT members and is supported by the sponsor and the PGM Tour,” said Adnan Othman, the ADT Tournament Director.
A total of 54 players, who made the halfway cut set at two-under-par 142, will return at 7.30am on Saturday for the third and final round of the PGM Northport Championship.
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:
126 - Ben LEONG (MAS) 64 62
134 - James BYRNE (SCO) 65 69, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 66 68
135 - Quincy QUEK (SGP) 68 67, Jay BAYRON (PHI) 65 70
136 - Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 68 68, Nicolas PAEZ (USA) 69 67, John Michael O’TOOLE (USA) 69 67, Blake SNYDER (USA) 68 68, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 69 67
137 - Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 69 68, LIU Yan-wei (CHN) 71 66
138 - R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 71 67, HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE) 70 68, CHAN Tuck-soon (A) (MAS) 71 67, Junhyuk LEE (KOR) 72 66
139 - Nick SHERWOOD (USA) 71 68, Thepbadin AMARANAN (THA) 74 65, Oskar ARVIDSSON (SWE) 73 66, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 70 69, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 69 70, LAM Yu Shuen (MAS) 69 70
140 - Brett MUNSON (USA) 70 70, Janne KASKE (FIN) 70 70, Scott SECORD (CAN) 72 68, Roberto GALLETTI (USA) 70 70, Solomon Emilio ROSIDIN (MAS) 71 69, Shariffuddin ARIFFIN (MAS) 71 69, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 68 72, Leunkwang KIM (MAS) 68 72, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 70 70, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 70 70, Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 72 68
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.