Lewton and Keyser rise to the top in Bali

Steve Lewton of England

Steve Lewton of England

Bali, Indonesia, October 12: England’s Steve Lewton took advantage of his booming drives to sign for a three-under-par 68 and grab a share of the halfway lead with in-form Mathiam Keyser of South Africa at the US$100,000 Combiphar Players Championship on Thursday.

Overnight co-leader Lewton fired five birdies against a double-bogey to move atop the leaderboard with a five-under-par 137 total alongside Keyser, who returned with a flawless round highlighted by one eagle and two birdies, at the New Kuta Golf, Bali.

American John Catlin carded a 67 to trail the leading duo by two shots in third place on his own while Order of Merit leader Masaru Takahashi of Japan returned with a second straight 70 to sit in fourth place with three other players on 140 at the Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

American John Michael O’Toole, who claimed his second ADT title in Malaysia last month, produced the shot of the day when he sank an ace on the par-three 15th hole after he hit an eight-iron 133 yards into the wind. He signed for an eventual 72 to tie in 29th position on 145.

John Michael O'Toole of the United States

John Michael O’Toole of the United States

Benita Kasiadi carded a 68 to emerge as the highest-placed Indonesian in tied-eighth position on 141 at the Combiphar Players Championship, what is the 14th leg of the ADT schedule and also the Tour’s second stop in Indonesia this season.

Lewton, who has capped three top-10 finishes on the ADT so far this season, was thrilled to cap a commendable round which saw him missing only two greens in regulation. His two-day scorecard would have been perfect if not for the double-bogey on the par-five 18 in the second round. He had opened his campaign with a bogey-free 69.

“It was much easier today compared to yesterday. It wasn’t as windy. I just stayed patient out there but unfortunately, I stumbled with a double-bogey on the difficult 18 after hitting the ball out of bounds. But I told myself I still have chances to recover on my back nine which is the front nine and I managed to birdie the first, second and fourth holes after the turn.

“I drove the ball really well. I missed only two greens in regulation today. I controlled the ball well. I am happy with the way I played. I will continue to stick to my game plan for the next two rounds,” said the 34-year-old Lewton, a one-time Asian Tour winner in 2015.

Keyser got off to a solid start, nailing an eagle-3 on the second hole after hitting an aggressive drive, followed by an eight-iron to eight feet. He added birdies on seventh and 14 to sign for a flawless 67.

“My mental game was good today. It was grind out there with the wind. It’s always nice to play a bogey-free round in winds like this. I have been playing well for a few weeks now so I am just enjoying myself,” said the 30-year-old Keyser.

Mathiam Keyser of South Africa

Mathiam Keyser of South Africa

Keyser completed a hat-trick when he secured his second ADT title in Malaysia a fortnight ago. He had claimed back-to-back wins on the MENA Golf Tour prior to that victory.

“I am just going to have fun playing with Steve (Lewton) tomorrow. He is a good friend of mine so I am sure we will have fun out there,” added the South African.

The winner of the Combiphar Players Championship will take home a prize purse of US$17,500 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points while the top-six players and ties earn points based on a sliding scale.

The leading five players on the final Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn their Asian Tour cards for the 2018 season.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.

Leading second round scores:

137 - Steve LEWTON (ENG) 69 68, Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 70 67

139 - John CATLIN (USA) 72 67

140 - CHOO Tze Huang (SGP) 69 71, Paul HARRIS (USA) 73 67, Wolmer MURILLO (VEN) 71 69, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 70 70

141 - Nathan PARK (AUS) 73 68, Arie Irawan (MAS) 71 70, LIU Yan-wei (CHN) 72 69, WANG Wei-lun (TWN) 73 68, Benita KASIADI (INA) 73 68, Pitipat PITIMANA-ARE (THA) 70 71, Michael BIBAT (PHI) 71 70

142 - William HARROLD (ENG) 71 71

143 - David GLEESON (AUS) 73 70, Ian ANDREW (INA) 73 70, Blake SNYDER (USA) 71 72

144 - Natthapong NIYOMCHON (THA) 75 69, Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 73 71, Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 76 68, Naraajie E. RAMADHAN PUTRA (A) (INA) 72 72, Adam BLYTH (AUS) 72 72, Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 69 75, Danny MASRIN (INA) 74 70, Jay BAYRON (PHI) 74 70, George GANDRANATA (INA) 73 71, Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 72 72

145 - Phanuvich ONCHU (THA) 73 72, JungHan KIM (KOR) 76 69, Fajar Win NURYANTO (INA) 71 74, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 75 70, John Michael O’TOOLE (USA) 73 72, Genki OKADA (JPN) 72 73, Seungjae MAENG (USA) 72 73, HSIEH Chi-hsien (TWN) 77 68

Ends.

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.