Higa storms to commanding victory


Johor, Malaysia, March 16: Japan’s Kazuki Higa secured his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title with a superb seven-under-par 65 in the final round of the PGM UMW ADT Championship on Saturday.

Johor, Malaysia, March 16: Japan’s Kazuki Higa secured his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title with a superb seven-under-par 65 in the final round of the PGM UMW ADT Championship on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Higa finished tied-second at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club last week but made sure he would not take another runner-up finish when he cruised to a six-shot victory at the same venue with his four-day winning total of 22-under-par 266.

Compatriot Naoki Sekito signed for a 67 to share second place with overnight leader Shintaro Kobayashi who closed with a disappointing 72 at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) event.

Malaysian’s Ben Leong was the highest-placed local when he ended his campaign with a 72 to finish in tied-fourth with four other players.

Starting the day one shot off the pace, Higa dropped a shot on his second hole but recovered quickly with a birdie on hole three. He went on to nail birdies on holes six, eight and nine to make the turn in 33.

“I wasn’t happy with how I was hitting it yesterday so I did some work at the range after my game and it really helped my round today. I stayed consistent and was hitting shots exactly how I wanted to,” said Higa, who claimed his maiden ADT victory last April in Bangladesh.

The Japanese trusted his abilities and extended his advantage with further birdies on holes 11, 12, 16 and 18 for a 32 in his homeward nine.

“I knew I was so close to getting a win last week and that really gave me the motivation I needed to get the job done today. I just told myself to trust myself and not think about how other people were playing,” added Higa, who moved up to third place on the Merit rankings.

He took home the winner’s prize purse of US$9,627.23 and received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points while the other top six players and ties earned points based on a sliding scale.

The 21-year-old Sekito took pride in his joint runner-up finish which was also his personal-best finish on the ADT since his tied-fourth result in October last year.

“I was hitting my driver and long irons really well and was pretty consistent all week. I only missed three greens today and my only two mistakes were on holes five and 15 when I three-putted for bogey,” said the Japanese, who resides in Hiroshima.

Focusing on the ADT this year, Sekito aims to finish inside the top-seven on the final ADT Order of Merit to earn playing rights on the Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

“This week really boosted my confidence. I am glad that all my hard work that I did back home is paying off and now my goal is to finish inside the top-seven on the ADT,” added the Japanese, who traded eight birdies against three bogeys.

For more information, visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading final round scores:

266 – Kazuki Higa 68 65 68 65

272 – Naoki Sekito 69 67 69 67, Shintaro Kobayashi 71 67 62 72

275 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat 69 69 71 66, Kwanchai Tannin 71 70 67 67, Joohyung Kim 68 70 68 69, Suttijet Kooratanapisan 68 66 70 71, Ben Leong 65 69 69 72

276 – Kasidit Lepkurte 70 69 68 69, Kerry Sweeney 67 66 71 72


Johor, Malaysia, March 15: Japan’s Shintaro Kobayashi fired a sizzling 10-under-par 62 to take over the lead in the third round of the PGM UMW ADT Championship on Friday.

Johor, Malaysia, March 15: Japan’s Shintaro Kobayashi fired a sizzling 10-under-par 62 to take over the lead in the third round of the PGM UMW ADT Championship on Friday.

Kobayashi marked his card with two bogeys, eight birdies and two eagles to lead by one shot with his three-day total of 16-under-par 200 at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Overnight co-leader compatriot Kazuki Higa dropped to second place following a 68 while Malaysia’s Ben Leong trails two shots in third place after posting a 69 at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Starting the day five shots off the pace in tied-ninth, the 32-year-old Kobayashi was thrilled to shoot his career-best round that has now put him in a good position for his maiden victory since turning professional in 2012.

“This is the best round of my professional career. I was making a lot of putts and only needed to make 10 putts in total in my back nine. I hit some pretty great shots today too like on hole 11, I had a 190-yard approach and struck it perfectly to two metres before rolling the putt in for eagle,” added Kobayashi.

The Japanese, who struggled to adapt to the firm greens at the ADT event held at the same venue last week, made the decision to purchase a new wedge over the weekend, after finishing in tied-37th.

“The greens here are much harder compared to what I am used to in Japan and I needed a higher loft. I am glad my decision is paying off this week,” added the Japanese, who plays mostly on the AbemaTV Tour.

Higa, a one-time ADT winner, lamented his poor iron-shots but took pride in his performance as he managed to meet his personal goal of shooting a 68 on moving day thanks to his solid putting.

“My goal today was to play four-under or below so I am glad to have hit that goal. I wasn’t hitting it well today but my distance control with my long putts helped me save a lot of pars,” said Higa, who traded six birdies against two bogeys.

Coming off a joint runner-up finish on the ADT last week, the 23-year-old Japanese remains confident ahead of his final-day challenge.

“I have enjoyed three wins since I turned professional and all of them were because I was leading after three rounds. This will be the first time I am chasing for a win from behind and I hope I can get the job done tomorrow,” said Higa, who claimed his breakthrough on the ADT in Bangladesh last April.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

For more information, visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading third round scores:

200 – Shintaro Kobayashi 71 67 62

201 – Kazuki Higa 68 65 68

203 – Ben Leong 65 69 69

204 – Suttijet Kooratanapisan 68 66 70, Kerry Sweeney 67 66 71

205 – Reo Hiruta 68 68 69, Naoki Sekito 69 67 69


Johor, Malaysia, March 14: Japan’s Kazuki Higa fired a superb seven-under-par 65 to seize the second-round lead with American Kerry Sweeney at the PGM UMW ADT Championship on Thursday.

Johor, Malaysia, March 14: Japan’s Kazuki Higa fired a superb seven-under-par 65 to seize the second-round lead with American Kerry Sweeney at the PGM UMW ADT Championship on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Japanese marked his card with one bogey, six birdies and an eagle to share the lead on an 11-under-par 133 total with Sweeney who carded a 66 at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Malaysia’s Ben Leong (69) and Thailand’s Suttijet Kooratanapisan (66) trailed by one shot in third place while Japanese duo Naoki Sekito (67) and Reo Hiruta (68) take a share of the fifth spot at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Malaysia’s Araf Shardd carded his first ace of his career on hole 17 with his nine-iron from 159 yards.

Higa made fast charge with a birdie on hole one followed by an eagle on hole three before dropping his first shot on hole six. He went on to grab five more birdies on his way home to move into contention.

“I played very well today and was putting well. Pretty steady round for me and the only mistake I made was on hole six when I three-putted,” said Higa, who claimed his maiden victory in April last year in Bangladesh.

Coming off a joint runner-up finish at the ADT event staged on the same course last week, Higa will seize the opportunity to seek redemption this week.

“I finished tied-second last week and played well. I just need to finish strong and make good use of the next two rounds so that I can win,” added Higa.

The 23-year-old Sweeney nailed birdies on holes one, seven and 11 before dropping his first shot of the day on hole 12. He rallied back to grab two more birdies on holes 13 and 15 and an eagle on hole 16 thanks to a monstrous drive and a solid nine-iron that left him with an eight-foot putt.

“I was putting well today and doing the right things around the greens so I felt really confident all day. I haven’t play hole 12 very well the past two rounds and bogeyed it again today. But I’ll just stay patient and keep doing what I’m doing,” said the American, who only missed six greens in his second round.

Playing in only his third start on the ADT, Sweeney was thrilled to make the halfway cut for the first time this year since making the mark at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January with a tied-21st result.

“I am very happy that I made my first cut on the ADT in my first three starts this year. After last week I just told myself to stay positive and keep going and I’m glad my game is trending in the right direction,” added Sweeney, who is chasing for his breakthrough victory this week.

A total of 54 players made the halfway cut set at one-under-par 143.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

For more information, visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading second round scores:

133 – Kerry Sweeney 67 66, Kazuki Higa 68 65

134 – Suttijet Kooratanapisan 68 66, Ben Leong 65 69136 – Naoki Sekito 69 67, Reo Hiruta 68 68137 – Wang Wei-lun 66 71, Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij 68 69

138 – Oscar Zetterwall 68 70, Leunkwang Kim 66 72, Wilson Choo 70 68, Shahriffuddin Ariffin 71 67, U-Minn Woon 72 66, Shintaro Kobayashi 71 67, Miguel Carballo 70 68, Itthipat Buranatanyarat 69 69, Joohyung Kim 68 70


Johor, Malaysia, March 13: Malaysia’s Ben Leong set the pace with an impressive seven-under-par 65 in the opening round of the PGM UMW ADT Championship on Wednesday.

Johor, Malaysia, March 13: Malaysia’s Ben Leong set the pace with an impressive seven-under-par 65 in the opening round of the PGM UMW ADT Championship on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old Sabahan, a one-time Asian Tour winner, carded a bogey-free round highlighted by five birdies and an eagle to lead by one shot at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Countryman Leunkwang Kim and Wang Wei-lun of Chinese Taipei share second place following matching 66s while four players trail a shot behind in fourth place including Gregory Foo of Singapore, Japan’s Hayato Yoshida, Erwan Vieilledent of France and American Kerry Sweeney at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Leong, who completed a wire-to-wire victory on home soil for his second ADT title last August, was pleased to capitalize on the reachable par-five holes, thanks to his solid iron-play coupled with a hot putter.

“I did well on all the par-five holes today. They are all pretty reachable holes so I took advantage of those holes to go low today,” said Leong, who navigated around the greens in 25 putts.

Starting from the back-nine 10, Leong nailed three birdies in his opening 11 holes before igniting his flawless round with an eagle on hole three.

“I did better on my back-nine and made an eagle on the par five-third hole after hitting the green in two shots with my six iron and then making a 20-foot putt. The greens here are pretty unpredictable so I was just happy to make the putt to give me an added boost,” added Leong, who fired two more birdies on his way home.

Despite struggling with his swing towards the middle of the round, the 24-year-old Kim took pride in his strong finish where he made consecutive birdies in his closing three holes for a bogey-free opening round.

“I started out good and was three-under-par after six holes. Then I struggled a little with my irons in the middle of the round but I managed to pull it together towards the end,” said Kim.

“I hit a nice pitch shot from 50 metres on the last hole to a foot from the flag which was a great way to end. I putted a lot better today compared to last week because I am getting a lot more comfortable with the speed of the greens,” added the Malaysian, who took a tied-32nd result at the ADT event staged at the same venue last week.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

For more information, visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading first round scores:

65 – Ben Leong

66 – Leunkwang Kim , Wang Wei-lun

67 – Gregory Foo , Erwan Vieilledent , Hayato Yoshida , Kerry Sweeney

68 – Ryuichi Oiwa , Reo Hiruta , Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij , Poom Pattaropong , Kazuki Higa , Joohyung Kim , Oscar Zetterwall , Sorachut Hansapiban , Masaru Takahashi , Suttijet Kooratanapisan , Daeng Rahman


Johor, Malaysia, March 12:  In-form Poom Pattaropong of Thailand hopes to put up another title run for his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory when he tees off for the PGM UMW ADT Championship starting Wednesday.

Johor, Malaysia, March 12:  In-form Poom Pattaropong of Thailand hopes to put up another title run for his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory when he tees off for the PGM UMW ADT Championship starting Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Poom, who enjoyed a joint runner-up finish at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club last week, is looking to ride on his fine form as he continues to chase for a breakthrough at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) event, which will be held on the same venue this week.

Since joining the play-for-pay ranks in January 2018, Poom has endured several near-misses for his maiden title on the region’s secondary circuit. He came agonisingly close to winning in Indonesia last August where he was locked in an epic play-off duel against reigning ADT Order of Merit champion Miguel Carballo of Argentina.

He went the distance with Carballo and was eventually defeated on the seventh play-off hole in the event, which would go down the record books as the longest play-off on the ADT since the circuit was inaugurated in 2010.

Poom, however, went on to notch three other top-10s to finish in 15th place on the 2018 ADT Order of Merit and secure his 2019 Asian Tour card in his second attempt at the Qualifying School, where he came in fifth following a gruelling 90-hole battle.

Despite failing to capitalise on his overnight four-shot lead heading into the final round last week, Poom was quick to take the positives and is confident that the experience will help him rise to the occasion in time to come.

“I played well all of last week but just didn’t get the putter going on the final day. I have learned a lot from those near-misses. I just need to focus on my own game now instead of what others are doing,” said Poom.

“I started working with my coach Annop Tangkamolprasert last August and we have seen significant improvements in my game right after fixing my swing. Annop used to play regularly on the ADT and I see him as often as I can when he is in Thailand, since he is currently based in Vietnam,” Poom added.

Poom will feature in the 144-men field alongside compatriot Itthipat Buranatanyarat, the highest-ranked player in second place on the current money list, as well as Merit champions Carballo and Pannakorn Uthaipas, who is chasing for back-to-back victories after lifting his second ADT victory last week.

Asian Tour winners Ben Leong, Nicholas Fung and Danny Chia will spearhead the local charge in the event, which will mark the fourth leg of the ADT schedule this season.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.


Johor, Malaysia, March 9: Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand overcame a four-shot deficit to win his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the PGM ADT Johor Championship on Saturday.

Johor, Malaysia, March 9: Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand overcame a four-shot deficit to win his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the PGM ADT Johor Championship on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Pannakorn had a terrible start as he dropped a shot on the second hole, which distanced him and the overnight leader, Poom Pattaropong of Thailand, to six shots. However, the bogey sharpened Pannakorn’s resolve and he began to attack the pin at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

The strategy worked, as he shot an eagle and five birdies before signing for a 20-under-par 268 total to win the tournament by two shots.

Poom was not able to get his final round going. The three birdies he made were negated by the equal number of bogeys. He had to contend with a tied-second finish along with Japan’s Kazuki Higa.

Higa, on the other hand, was making a charge at the leaders. The one-time ADT winner shot eight birdies and did not drop a single shot on his first 16 holes. However, his tournament unravelled after making a bogey on the 17th.

Malaysia’s Daeng Rahman was also making a sprint to the finish. He traded an eagle and five birdies against a lone bogey to a card six-under-par 30 on his back-nine, which helped him climb from tied-ninth to tied-fourth.

On the victory, Pannakorn said: “The birdie on eight was significant. I missed the green at the par-three hole by about 30 yards, but I managed to chip it in. After that, I was feeling even more confident.”

“I was only focussing on my game. I played very well in the first two rounds and I know that my game is in a good place,” he said, on playing with his friend Poom, who had a four-shot lead at the start of the day.

“It was a good fight with Poom today. I’m sure he will be a champion in the near future.”

With this win, Pannakorn is now aiming to win the ADT Order of Merit for the second time. Previously, he won topped the money list in 2017.

The merit champion, as well as the leading six players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

For more information, visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading final round scores:

268 – Pannakorn Uthaipas 63 67 72 66

270 – Kazuki Higa 68 69 68 65, Poom Pattaropong 64 67 67 72

272 – Daeng Rahman 68 72 67 65, Joohyung Kim 64 72 70 66

273 – Lloyd Jefferson Go 66 66 71 70

274 – Trevor Simsby 68 67 71 68, Genki Okada 67 69 68 70

275 – Miguel Carballo 70 68 71 66, Ryuichi Oiwa 69 71 67 68

277 – Danny Chia 67 69 75 66, Johnson Poh 67 72 71 67


Johor, Malaysia, March 8: Poom Pattaropong of Thailand moved into the lead after carding a five-under-par 67 in the third round of the PGM ADT Johor Championship on Friday.

Johor, Malaysia, March 8: Poom Pattaropong of Thailand moved into the lead after carding a five-under-par 67 in the third round of the PGM ADT Johor Championship on Friday.

The 23-year-old Poom had an eventful day, as he shot an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys for an 18-under-par 198 total at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

He has a four-shot lead going into the final round of the tournament, co-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM).

In second place is compatriot Pannakorn Uthaipas, who went slightly off the boil as he carded a 72.

Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines (71), and Japan’s Genki Okada (68) as well as Kazuki Higa (68) are in third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

Poom’s eagle on the 16th gave him a mental boost for the final round.

“I hit a pretty good drive and used a nine-iron to get it onto the fringe, 10-feet from the hole. I managed to make an eagle from there. It was a huge confidence booster and it has set me up very nicely for tomorrow,” said Poom, who earned an Asian Tour card via Qualifying School earlier this year.

He added: “I’ll be playing with my good friend, Pannakorn (Uthaipas), and it’ll be great fun. Whatever happens, happens. I’m very satisfied with the state of my game at the moment.”

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

For more information, visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading third round scores:

198 – Poom Pattaropong 64 67 67

202 – Pannakorn Uthaipas 63 67 72

203 – Lloyd Jefferson Go 66 66 71

204 – Genki Okada 67 69 68

205 – Kazuki Higa 68 69 68

206 – Joohyung Kim 64 72 70, Trevor Simsby 68 67 71, Amir Nazrin 68 67 71


Johor, Malaysia, March 7: Amir Nazrin of Malaysia kept the local hope alive as he shot a five-under-par 67 to finish the second round in tied-second at the weather-disrupted PGM ADT Johor Championship.

Johor, Malaysia, March 7: Amir Nazrin of Malaysia kept the local hope alive as he shot a five-under-par 67 to finish the second round in tied-second at the weather-disrupted PGM ADT Johor Championship.

The 21-year-old Amir got himself into contention after carding a near-flawless round that is highlighted by six birdies. He dropped only one shot on the par-four 10th before signing for a nine-under-par 135 total at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Amir is three shots behind the clubhouse leader, Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines, at the RM 225,000 (approximately US$54,000) tournament, co-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM).

Go, in line for a breakthrough win on the ADT, carded his second consecutive 66. The 24-year-old traded an eagle and five birdies against a lone bogey to end his Thursday on 132.

“I was playing and hitting the ball well going into the tournament. In particular, I’ve been hitting my iron shots very well, so even if the ball is on the rough, I can hit it close to the hole,” he explained.

He added: “Good drives and second shots are key to a good scoring here and in particular, I played my second shots well today. Hitting the fairways is important here, and that will be my strategy going into the next two rounds.”

Ryan Troyer of the United States scored an ace. He achieved the feat on hole two from a distance of 176 yards using his eight iron.

Round two will restart at 7.40am on Friday, with the third round commencing not before 9.50am.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

For more information, visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com

Leading second round scores (incomplete):

132 – LLoyd Jefferson Go 66 66

135 – Amir Nazrin 68 67, Trevor Simsby 68 67,

136 – Danny Chia 67 69


Johor, Malaysia, March 6: Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand set the early pace with a resplendent nine-under-par 63 following the first round of the PGM ADT Johor Championship on Wednesday.

Johor, Malaysia, March 6: Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand set the early pace with a resplendent nine-under-par 63 following the first round of the PGM ADT Johor Championship on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Pannakorn hit the ground running, shooting four birdies in his opening five holes. He carried the momentum after making the turn at 18, carding five more birdies before signing for a 63 at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Compatriot Poom Pattaropong is just a shot behind in tied-second. Like Pannakorn, he enjoyed a bogey-free round at the RM 225,000 (approximately US$54,000) tournament, co-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM).

Joining Poom on 64 is Korea’s Joohyung Kim and Malaysia’s Kenneth Tobuse. Defending champion Johnson Poh of Singapore is four shots off the lead, in tied-eighth.

Pannakorn credited his excellent round to his good ball striking and big-game mindset.

“I was hitting my driver and irons very well, and I found almost all the fairways today. In fact, I missed about three or four short birdie putts. If I had made those, my good round would have been even better!” he said.

Pannakorn won the 2017 ADT Order of Merit and earned an Asian Tour card for the 2018 season. He was not able to retain his card after finishing in 100th place on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, but the experience of playing on Asia’s premier circuit has put him in good stead.

He added: “I learned a lot from playing on the Asian Tour last year. I’ve been practising very hard in the last three months and working on every aspect of my game. I’m feeling very confident this year.”

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

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

Leading first round scores:

63 – Pannakorn Uthaipas

64 – Poom Pattaropong , Joohyung Kim , Kenneth Tobuse

66 – Shintaro Kai , Seungjae Maeng , Lloyd Jefferson Go

67 – Choo Tze Huang , Genki Okada , Johnson Poh , Ryusei Yokota , Marc Ong , Danny Chia

68 – Shinichi Mizuno , Elki Kow , Atthaphon Sriboonkaew , Jesse Yap , Kazuki Higa , Amir Nazrin , Trevor Simsby , Daeng Rahman


Johor, Malaysia, March 5: Singapore’s Johnson Poh is banking on his good early season form and positive vibes from last year’s tournament as he tees up for the PGM ADT Johor Championship which tees off tomorrow.

Johor, Malaysia, March 5: Singapore’s Johnson Poh is banking on his good early season form and positive vibes from last year’s tournament as he tees up for the PGM ADT Johor Championship which tees off tomorrow.

The 27-year-old Poh shot his lowest four-round score ever at the 2018 edition of the tournament to win his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title.

The Singaporean carded a 21-under-par 267 total for a two-shot victory at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club, which will also be the host venue for this year’s PGM ADT Johor Championship.

“I’m very excited to be back as the defending champion! I have many great memories from last year. The task this year is to try to recreate those shots I played, and also to create more great shots!” said a confident Poh ahead of the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) event, co-sanctioned by the ADT and the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM)

He added: “I’ve gone to play a round there last month. The course hasn’t changed much from last year; only the greens are a little firmer due to the dry season recently. Hitting to the right spots is the key to playing well for this course as some pins can be quite tricky.”

Poh went on to finish the season in 13th place on the 2018 ADT Order of Merit, coming agonisingly close to snatching on one of the seven Asian Tour cards on offer. The Singaporean hopes to do better this season.

“I have had a great start to 2019 by playing well at the SMBC Singapore Open (the Asian Tour season opener), and I am aiming to ride that momentum into Johor. It was a great breakthrough last year at this event. I am looking forward to even more success this year!”

Poh’s title ambitions will be put to test by the likes of ADT Order of Merit champions Miguel Carballo of Argentina (2018) and Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand (2017), as well as ADT winners Shinichi Mizuno of Japan and Sam Gillis of the United States.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive a minimum of six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

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

Ends.

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