‘Warrior’ Prom takes down Sekito in extra time to win Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships


Bandar Seri Begawan, April 27: Thai star Prom Meesawat showed his battling spirit by rallying with a birdie on the third play-off hole to defeat Japan’s Naoki Sekito and clinch the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships in the final round on Saturday.

Prom, a two-time Asian Tour winner, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week, started his final day four shots back of the lead.

He hauled himself quickly back into contention by firing seven birdies on holes two, six, seven, 10, 11, 12 and 15 before dropping his only shot of the day on hole 16 at the US$75,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Prom’s four-day total of 20-under-par 260 was enough for him to force his way into a play-off with Sekito, who stunned the field with an impressive 61 in regulation play at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

The duo went head-to-head on the first play-off hole held on 18 but both of them had to settle for pars after missing their birdie attempts. Sekito had an opportunity to win on the second extra hole but narrowly missed a 10-footer and settled for par with Prom.

The play-off was then moved to the ninth hole where Prom eventually triumphed after striking a solid approach to eight-feet and rolling a decisive putt in for birdie. Naoki settled for second place after failing to make birdie from off the green.

“I had a birdie on hole 15 and was three-shots clear of the field. I thought it was good enough, but I didn’t expect to make that bogey on hole 16 and for Naoki to birdie the last two holes.

“But I am glad to have won on the third play-off hole, it was a great fight. That last approach shot on the ninth hole was probably the best iron shot of the week for me,” said Prom.

With good friend Kiradech Aphibarnrat withdrawn from the event due to a knee injury, Prom was pleased to have won the title on his behalf. He will take home a winner’s purse US$13,125 and a minimum of six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.

“It always feels great winning a golf tournament especially playing on an invite this week it’s an honour to win this event. Kiradech won last year and it’s a shame he didn’t get to play all four rounds.

“I told him after the second round that I would try and defend the title for him and I am glad I was able to keep to my word,” added Prom, who is nicknamed ‘Big Dolphin’ due to his burly physique and because he hails from the coast town of Hua Hin.

Despite missing out on back-to-back ADT victories since making his breakthrough last week, the 21-year-old Sekito took pride in his flawless round highlighted by nine birdies, which marked his personal-best round since joining the play-for-pay ranks in 2017.

“61 is my best score and I am very happy to have broken my personal-best record. I did my best, especially losing to Prom in a play-off. He did really well. I have no regrets this week and it is looking like a good season for me.  I hope to continue on this momentum and take one of the seven spots on the ADT Order of Merit,” said Sekito, who made his breakthrough on the ADT in Penang last week.

The Organising Committee of the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships announced a charity drive through its “Birdies for Charity” program at the start of the week. A total of 947 birdies were recorded after four rounds and through the generous contributions of its donors, the program received a total of B$11,000.

All pledges will go directly to the Dana Pengiran Musa Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah for Orphans and the Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam.

Leading final round scores:

260 – Prom Meesawat 66 68 62 64, Naoki Sekito 68 67 64 61

264 – Austen Truslow 65 67 64 68

265 – Wang Wei-lun 66 68 64 67

266 – Tawit Polthai 65 64 63 74

268 – Sarit Suwannarut 66 68 67 67, Casey O’Toole 65 69 65 69

Ends.


Bandar Seri Begawan, April 26: Thailand’s Tawit Polthai continued his fine form by firing a seven-under-par 63 to strengthen his position atop the leaderboard following the penultimate round of the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships on Friday.

The 25-year-old Thai, who entered the round with a three-shot lead, extended his advantage to four with his three-day total of 18-under-par 192 at the US$75,000 event.

Thai star Prom Meesawat, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation, posted a sizzling 62 to share second place with American Austen Truslow (64) while Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-lun (64) trails Tawit by six shots in fourth place at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Tawit, who traded eight birdies against one bogey, had a hot putter to thank for after navigating around the greens in 22 putts.

“My putting was really good today, I was making a lot of putts from 15-feet. I just stuck to my game plan even though I knew a lot of the guys were chasing me from behind,” said Tawit.

The Thai relishes the opportunity to play with his idol Prom and will continue to adopt a relaxed approach in the final round as he stays on track for a maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) win.

“I just want to have fun tomorrow, it will be the first time I am playing in the final group and I am excited to be playing with Prom tomorrow,” added Tawit.

Prom made a fast start on moving day with five birdies in his opening nine holes to make the turn in 30. He notched birdies on holes 11,12, 14 and 15 before dropping a shot on hole 17 for an inward 32.

“I was hitting it well and was confident in my irons so I was able to give myself a lot of birdie opportunities today. I wouldn’t count hole 17 as a mistake because I hit a good drive but if it was just one yard longer, it would have crossed the water hazard.

“This isn’t a long course, so with my distance, I had to take risks like that. Tawit will be the man to catch and I am excited for the challenge tomorrow,” added Prom, a two-time Asian Tour winner.

Qualifying School graduate Truslow, was pleased to have recovered from his dropped shot on hole 12 as he responded by firing four birdies in his closing six holes.

“I was consistent in the beginning of the round but then I made a silly mistake on hole 12 when I hit my tee shot into the trees and had to pitch it out to the fairway. I recovered really well after that and made a lot of great birdies like on hole 18 when I made a 31-foot birdie putt.

“The leader is playing really well and I am excited to be in this position. I am just looking forward to be playing this course again because it really suits my game,” said Truslow.

The Organising Committee of the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships has announced a charity drive through its “Birdies for Charity” program. Through the generous contributions of its donors, the program will receive B$10 for every birdie recorded during each round.

All pledges collected after four rounds will go directly to the Dana Pengiran Musa Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah for Orphans and the Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam.

Leading third round scores:

192 – Tawit Polthai (THA) 65-64-63.
196 – Prom Meesawat (THA) 66-68-62, Austen Truslow (USA) 65-67-64.
198 – Wang Wei-lun (TPE) 66-68-64.
199 – Naoki Sekito (JPN) 68-67-64, Casey O’Toole (USA) 65-69-65.
201 – Suttijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 69-66-66, Sarit Suwannarut (THA) 66-68-67.

Ends.


Bandar Seri Begawan, April 25: Thailand’s Tawit Polthai produced a brilliant six-under-par 64 to charge into the lead at the halfway stage of the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships on Thursday.

The 25-year-old Thai, who started the round in tied third, stayed blemish-free to hold a three-shot advantage over American Austen Truslow (67) in second place with his two-day total of 11-under-par 129 at the US$75,000 event.

Defending champion, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, was forced to withdraw after three holes as a precaution due to an ongoing knee injury.

Overnight leader Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand (71) and countryman Prom Meesawat (68) were among six players bunched in tied third at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Tawit enjoyed a solid ball-striking day, missing only two greens in regulation in his flawless round highlighted by six birdies.

“My putting was good today and I was striking my irons well. I made 16 greens today and most of my birdie putts were inside 15-feet. I had a good start which boosted my confidence, and I was just having fun and playing my own game all day,” said Tawit, who hails from Chantaburi.

The Thai, who last won on his local circuit in 2013, will employ the same carefree mindset in his bid for a breakthrough victory on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).

“The wind started to pick up in the second nine and I had to hit lower shots into the wind. But I still managed to stay out of trouble and come back bogey-free. I just want to have fun the next two days and see where that takes me,” added Tawit.

Truslow struggled with a slow start, dropping his first shot of the day on hole eight after missing a five-footer for par. He kept to his game plan to bounce back with four birdies in his back nine to move into contention.

“The first nine is a lot more difficult and I was playing fine just not making any putts. I knew if I kept playing the way I was playing I could make a few birdies on the back nine.

“I am chipping it well which helped me a lot today because I was able to take advantage of the holes I needed to. I’m pretty happy with my position right now its great to be in contention, it is what all of us play for,” said the American, who earned his Tour card at the 2019 Asian Tour Qualifying School.

Starting from the back nine, Prom traded three birdies for as many bogeys to turn in 35. He stayed bogey-free in his closing nine holes despite windier conditions, notching birdies on holes six and nine for an inward 33.

“I have been hitting it good the past two rounds. I made a couple of small mistakes here and there like on hole 12 when I bogeyed it from 75 yards, which was pretty disappointing,” said Prom.

“The wind started to pick up on the back nine so I was playing the holes differently but I played better on the back, probably because the temperature was cooler. I just hope I’ll be able to go lower the next two rounds,” added the two-time Asian Tour winner.

The halfway cut was set at one-over-par 141 with 50 players advancing to the final two rounds. Local prospect Qawiem Aslimon was the only Bruneian to make the cut following a 72.

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 at least six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

The Organising Committee of the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships has announced a charity drive through its “Birdies for Charity” program. Through the generous contributions of its donors, the program will receive B$10 for every birdie recorded during each round.

All pledges collected after four rounds will go directly to the Dana Pengiran Musa Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah for Orphans and the Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam.

Leading second round scores:

129 – Tawit Polthai 65 64

132 – Austen Truslow 65 67

134 – Casey O’Toole 65 69, Prom Meesawat 66 68, Wang Wei-lun 66 68, Lindsay Renolds 67 67, Itthipat Buranatanyarat 63 71, Sarit Suwannarut 66 68

135 – Poosit Supupramai 65 70, Suttijet Kooratanapisan 69 66, Naoki Sekito 68 67, Choo Tze Huang 70 65

136 – Shae Wools-Cobb 66 70, Miguel Carballo 70 66

Ends.


Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei April 24: Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat fired an impressive seven-under-par 63 to set the early pace in the opening round of the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Itthipat, who claimed his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory in January, was sharp off the tees, trading eight birdies against one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Japan’s Nari Gamma at the US$75,000 event which is staged at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan, Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai, Tawit Polthai as well as the American duo of Casey O’Toole and Austen Truslow are bunched in third place on matching 65s.

Defending Champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand sits in tied-8th with countryman Prom Meesawat with their rounds of 66.

Starting from the back-nine 10th hole, Itthipat birdied two of his opening three holes before dropping a shot on hole 13. He recovered with consecutive birdies on holes 17 and 18 for an outward 32.

The Thai, who currently holds the top spot on the current ADT Order of Merit rankings, stayed bogey-free in his second nine, notching birdies on holes two, three, four and six for an inward 31.

“My goal today was to shoot at least two-under-par so I am happy to have achieved it today. I played well because I kept my ball on the fairway and gave myself a chance to hit it close on the approach,” said Itthipat, who only missed two fairways.

“I feel pretty relaxed this week because I know I can do well here and I will stick to my game plan for the next couple of rounds,” added the Thai, who finished third in Brunei last year.

Gamma, who missed the cut in his Bruneian debut last year, opened his campaign with a sizzling 64 which also marked his personal-best round of the year.

“I had a fast start today and was giving myself a lot of birdie opportunities. My short game really helped me today and I had a couple of good saves.

“The highlight of my day was on hole eight when my second shot went into the water but I made a great up-and-down from 30 yards to save bogey,” said the 30-year-old Gamma.

Koh, chasing his maiden ADT victory this week, put himself in the mix with three birdies in his closing four holes.

“I putted quite well today and made a few good iron shots on the front nine. I have been hitting the ball good this year and I think I am just reading the greens better today.

“I did well coming down the stretch with good birdies on holes 15, 17 and 18. I had only one bogey on hole 16 because of a wrong club choice but overall it was a great round,” said Koh.

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 at least six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

The Organising Committee of the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships has announced a charity drive through its “Birdies for Charity” program. Through the generous contributions of its donors, the program will receive B$10 for every birdie recorded during each round.

All pledges collected after four rounds will go directly to the Dana Pengiran Musa Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah for Orphans and the Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam.

Leading first round scores:
63 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA).
64 – Nari Gamma (JPN).
65 – Koh Deng Shan (SIN), Poosit Supupramai (THA), Casey O’Toole (USA), Tawit Polthai (THA), Austen Truslow (USA).
66 – Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (THA), Prom Meesawat (THA), Wang Wei-lun (TPE), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Sarit Suwannarut (THA), Shae Wools-Cobb (AUS).

Ends.


Bandar Seri Begawan, April 23: Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be looking to cast his injury woes aside when he defends his title at the US$75,000 Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships which starts on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Kiradech, who won the event for his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) title last year, had unfortunately tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) when he made his third appearance at The Masters tournament two weeks ago.

The Thai star, however, is keeping up his spirits as he looks to put his injury troubles behind when he steps up to the tee at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, where he had dominated a talented field by going wire-to-wire to win by six shots last year.

“My injury isn’t going well actually. I damaged one of the tendons in my knee and I couldn’t bend down and read my line on the green. I will try and swing softly this week and ensure that I can make it through four rounds,” said the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit Champion.

Despite having to play with an injured knee, Kiradech remains hopeful of a successful title defence in the popular event, which is returning for its second consecutive edition on the region’s secondary circuit.

“It is always a great time for me in Brunei, being surrounded by great people and playing on an amazing golf course. I’m certainly grateful for the opportunity to be back.

“I played yesterday and I remembered the special memories from winning last year which set me up for a great season,” said Kiradech, who would go on to earn playing rights on the PGA Tour for the 2018/19 season and become the first Thai player to achieve the feat.

Kiradech, who sits in 42nd place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), will headline a talented 144-men field which features fellow Thai star Prom Meesawat, as well as over 20 ADT champions including Miguel Carballo of Argentina, Japanese duo Kazuki Higa and Naoki Sekito and Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat.

Prom, who represented his country alongside Kiradech at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne last November, hailed the growth of the ADT which has been providing a strong platform for the region’s aspiring talents to hone their skills.

“It’s a pretty strong field this week with Kiradech and a couple of good players competing. I think it is really good for a tournament on the ADT to have top players playing and I know it will be strong challenge for the trophy this week,” said the two-time Asian Tour winner.

“The ADT helps develop young talents and it’s good to see all these young guys coming up. I have been there before and the more you play the more you are able to handle the stress of playing bigger events,” added  Prom, who is returning to Brunei for the first time since 2005.

American Austen Truslow, who topped the class at the 2019 Asian Tour Qualifying School in December last year, hopes to stay cool in the heat as he takes aim at putting up a strong performance in his debut appearance at the Brunei Championships.

“I have struggled with the heat in Asia, especially playing in Penang last week. I didn’t do too well taking care of myself and I wasn’t able to perform at my best. I hope to manage that better this week,” said Truslow, who is known for chipping with one hand.

Other notable players England’s Stephen Lewton and Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas, ranked fifth and sixth on the current Merit standings.

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 at least six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.


Phuket, Thailand, April 23: The Singha Laguna Phuket Open will return to the Asian Development Tour (ADT) schedule for its third consecutive edition from May 16 to 19 next month.

The popular event, co-sanctioned with the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT), will mark the ADT’s third leg in Thailand this season following the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship and the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 in January and February.

A stellar international field of 144 players will tee off at the award-winning Laguna Golf Phuket for the highly-rated event, which offers a prize purse of THB 2,000,000 (approximately US$63,860).

The resort has played host to numerous professional tournaments since its comprehensive course revamp in 2016 and has proven to be a happy hunting ground for local golfers. It is also a former host venue on the Asian Tour.

In the inaugural edition in 2017, the Singha Laguna Phuket Open welcomed a worthy champion in Thailand’s Chanachok Dejpiratanamongkol, who secured his maiden victory with a winning total of 27-under-par 253. He had led from start to finish.

That same year, Suttijet Kooratanapisan of Thailand etched his name into history books when he carded a stunning 59 in the final round, which remains the record lowest round on the ADT and the premier Asian Tour till date.

In 2018, young Thai Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij dominated the field to secure a wire-to-wire victory where he won by six shots. The Phetchaburi-native golfer went on to claim his second ADT title in November to finish third on the Merit ranks, thereby earning his Asian Tour card for the 2019 season.

Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour Chief Operating Officer, lauded the return of the Singha Laguna Phuket Open onto the growing ADT schedule.

“Phuket has always been a popular destination for our members for obvious reasons. It is a spectacular location with a wealth of activities at your fingertips at the ever-hospitable Laguna Phuket.

“We would like to thank Laguna Phuket and Singha, the joint-title sponsors, and the All Thailand Golf Tour for their unwavering dedication towards the development of golf in the region,” said Cho.

“Thai golfers have traditionally been strong contenders on the ADT. Sadom Kaewkanjana lifted his maiden ADT trophy at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019 in February and went on to make a stunning breakthrough on the Asian Tour two months later in Bangladesh.

“We hope to see more young and exciting talents bursting onto the scene through the staging of this event,” Cho added.

Jakraphong Thongyai, All Thailand Golf Tour Commissioner, said: “I am always glad to host the event along with the ADT. We strongly believe that this event will be as successful as the previous years. On behalf of the ATGT, I would like to send our sincere thanks to the Asian Tour and the Asian Development Tour for the support and dedication in growing the game across Asia.

“The ATGT would also like to thank to Laguna Phuket for their wonderful support for the third conservative year and we hope to continue this event with the ADT for many years ahead. Our players always enjoy visiting Laguna Phuket, the destination has a variety of hotel accommodation and fantastic recreational facilities, with the golf course conveniently situated at the heart of the resort,” Jay added.

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 at least six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.


Penang, Malaysia, April 20: Japan’s Naoki Sekito captured his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory with a four-under-par 68 in the final round of the PGM ADT Penang Championship on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Japanese compiled a four-day total of 17-under-par 271 to win by one shot over Malaysia’s Danny Chia (66) and American Sam Gillis (68) who were tied for second at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) event.

American Trevor Simsby and Malaysia’s Amir Nazrin carded matching 69s to take the fourth and fifth spots respectively at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort.

Sekito entered the final round with a one-shot lead, but relinquishes that lead when he dropped a shot on his very first hole.

“I bogeyed my first hole after I pushed my tee shot to the right and had to chip out from behind the trees. But after that bogey, I was less nervous because I wasn’t the sole leader so I knew I could keep chasing,” said Sekito.

With the pressure of his spirited rivals off his back, he held his nerves to stay bogey-free for the rest of the round, notching birdies on holes two, seven, 10, 12, and 15.

“Right after that hole, I made a birdie putt from six feet which gave me that extra boost. I wasn’t hitting the ball very well but I was very lucky on my back nine. I chipped in on hole 12 from 20 yards for birdie and had another good birdie putt from 10 metres on hole 15,” said the young Japanese.

With his victory, Sekito took home a winner’s purse of US$9,529.28 and received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points while the other top six players and ties earned points based on a sliding scale.

“I told myself in January, that my goal was to win on the ADT and get into the top-seven on the Order of Merit. Now that I have won I am really happy and I can’t wait to call my family and tell them,” added Sekito, who moved up to take the fifth spot on the ADT Order of Merit.

Two-time Asian Tour winner Chia was thrilled to rediscover his form with a new putter in the bag this week. He traded two bogeys against eight birdies to enjoy his first top-10 finish in two years since his joint runner-up result on the ADT in July of 2017.

“I’m very happy with how I played this week, it has been awhile since I have had a top-10 finish. It was an up-and-down round where I had a good run of birdies from holes three to seven but three-putted on hole eight for bogey.

“Overall I am putting well and this week was a confidence boost. I can see the changes since I switched my putter and I am playing more consistent golf,” added Chia, who won his fourth ADT title in 2016.

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

Leading final round scores:

271 – Naoki Sekito 70 69 64 68

272 – Danny Chia 70 70 66 66, Sam Gillis 70 67 67 68

274 – Trevor Simsby 67 71 67 69

275 – Amir Nazrin 65 75 66 69

277 – Nirun Sae-Ueng 67 69 72 69

Ends.


Penang, Malaysia, April 19: Japan’s Naoki Sekito sizzled with an eight-under-par 64 to surge one shot clear of the field in the penultimate round of the PGM ADT Penang Championship on Friday.

Starting the round with a three-shot deficit, the 21-year-old Japanese underlined his intentions of a breakthrough on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) with his flawless round highlighted by eight birdies at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) event.

He leads with a three-day total of 13-under-par 203 over American Sam Gillis (67) who trails by one shot in second place. Thailand’s Suttijet Kooratanapisan and American Trevor Simsby share the third spot with matching 67s.

Malaysian duo Amir Nazrin and Danny Chia both carded 66 to stay three shots off the pace in tied-fifth at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort.

Sekito, who hails from Hiroshima, Japan, attributed his low round to a change he made in his putting grip that led him to navigate around the greens in 28 putts.

“I was putting very well today which was different from the last two rounds. After my game yesterday I decided to switch back to a normal grip, which I haven’t used in three years. But it worked out well today and I was rolling the ball better,” said Sekito.

Relishing the opportunity to play in the final group in only his second ADT event this season, the young Japanese will have his eyes set on making his mark on the region’s secondary circuit.

“I won a state event on my local circuit last month and I came into this week full of confidence. I am very excited for tomorrow and to play in the last group and I hope to get a first win on the ADT,” added Sekito, who enjoyed a joint runner-up result last month in Malaysia.

Starting from hole 10, Amir stayed bogey-free in his opening 10 holes, notching birdies on holes 11, 13, 16 and 18 before dropping his first shot on hole two.

He bounced back with birdies on three, four and six before dropping another shot on hole eight, but would recover right after with a birdie on his final hole.

“My round was amazing. I worked on my putting after my round yesterday and it paid off because I was making a lot of putts today. I ended my round with a great birdie putt from 25 feet which was a nice way to finish.

“I like where I am right now on the leaderboard and I hope to continue the momentum and play my own game tomorrow,” added Amir, who is also chasing for a maiden ADT victory.

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 six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Leading third round scores:

203 – Naoki Sekito 70 69 64

204 – Sam Gillis 70 67 67

205 – Suttijet Kooratanapisan 70 68 67, Trevor Simsby 67 71 67

206 – Amir Nazrin 65 75 66, Danny Chia 70 70 66, Poom Pattaropong 68 68 70

207 – Joohyung Kim 72 70 65

Ends.


Bandar Seri Begawan, April 19:  Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat is set to defend his title at the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships, which will celebrate its second straight edition on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) next week.

The 29-year-old Kiradech, the highest-ranked Thai in 41st place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), will headline a cosmopolitan field of 144 players from over 20 countries at the highly-rated Empire Golf and Country Club from April 24 to 27 (Wednesday to Saturday).

The popular event, which offers an increased prize purse of US$75,000 this year, will feature more than 26 ADT champions including Argentina’s Miguel Carballo, Japan’s Kazuki Higa, American Sam Gillis and Wang Wei-lun of Chinese Taipei.

Kiradech, the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, underlined his star credentials when he dominated a talented field at the inaugural edition last year, completing a wire-to-wire victory to win by six shots.

“Winning last year was huge for me, it gave me a boost in confidence before I went back to play in the United States. I treat every tournament the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small event,” said Kiradech.

Kiradech’s victory in Brunei, which marked his third title on the ADT, came a week after he finished tied-fifth at the 2018 World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship. He would go on to cap another top-five finish two weeks later at the WGC- Dell Technologies Match Play.

The big-hitting Thai then wrote a slice of history by becoming the first Thai golfer to earn playing rights on the PGA TOUR for the 2018/2019 season, thanks to his noteworthy performances which also include a tied-13th place finish at the Memorial Tournament, a tied-30th result at THE PLAYERS Championship and a 15th place finish at the U.S. Open.

Kiradech, a three-time Asian Tour winner and four-time European Tour champion, enjoyed a tied-49th place finish when he made his third appearance at The Masters tournament last week.

“From playing the Masters, one of the biggest events in the world, to playing on the ADT, it feels the same to me as I still try and win every single time I tee up for an event.

“I am excited to be going back to Brunei to defend my title. My good friend Prom (Meesawat) is also playing in the event and I know he won’t make it easy for me,” added Kiradech.

ADT Order of Merit champion Itthipat Buranatanyarat, who won the season-opener on home soil earlier in January, is ready for another shot at the event, where he played alongside Kiradech in the final round last year before settling for a third-place result.

“I was honoured to have the opportunity to play with Kiradech in the final round last year. Watching him play helped me realised what I needed to work on if I want to be the best. I have been working hard on my weaknesses since then,” said Itthipat, who ended a three-year title drought when he won his third ADT title three months ago.

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 at least six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.


Penang, Malaysia, April 18: Thailand’s Nirun Sae-Ueng posted a three-under-par 69 to take a share of the halfway lead with countrymen Kasidit Lepkurte and Poom Pattaropong at the PGM ADT Penang Championship on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Nirun started his round on fire, chipping in from 50 yards on his first hole for an eagle. He went on to trade two bogeys against three birdies to compile a two-day total of eight-under-par 136 with Kasidit (65) and Poom (68) at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort.

Three players sit in fourth place one shot behind the leading trio at the RM225,000 (approximately US$54,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event. They include Singapore’s Jesse Yap (71), Thailand’s Kosuke Hamamoto (66) and American Sam Gillis (67).

Nirun, who earned his maiden ADT victory in 2015, had a hot putter to thank for his round where he only totalled 25 putts.

“I was just really confident all day. Especially starting off with an eagle helped to kick-off the momentum. I knew that even if I missed the green I could get up and down from anywhere because I have been putting it good these two days,” said Nirun.

Hoping to translate his consistent tee-to-green approach into a victory this week, the Thai will be adopting the same game plan for the next two days.

“This course is very narrow so I just need to stay focused off the tee and keep making greens. If the pin is in a good position, I will keep attacking it like today, but if I feel I need to aim for the centre of the green then I will trust my instincts,” added Nirun.

Starting on the first hole, Kasidit birdied four of his opening six holes before dropping a shot on hole eight for an outward 33. He notched four more birdies and dropped a shot on hole 16 before grabbing a birdie on his way home for an inward 32.

“The course is difficult but I managed to make a lot of birdies today because I was hitting it well. I am very happy with how I played and hopefully I will keep up this momentum for the next two days,” said the Thai, who made his breakthrough on the ADT in 2017.

Play was suspended at 2.55pm local time due to heavy rain but resumed at 4pm. The halfway cut was set at one-under-par 143 with 50 players advancing to the final two rounds.

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 six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Leading second round scores:

136 – Kasidit Lepkurte 71 65, Nirun Sae-Ueng 67 69, Poom Pattaropong 68 68

137 – Jesse Yap 66 71, Kosuke Hamamoto 71 66, Sam Gillis 70 67

138 – Trevor Simsby 67 71, Suttijet Kooratanapisan 70 68, George Worrall 72 66

139 – T. Kiishaan 71 68, Naoki Sekito 70 69, Kheng Hwai Khor 70 69, Pawin Ingkhapradit 68 71, Leunkwang Kim 71 68, Jack Murdoch 69 70, Shahriffuddin Ariffin 71 68, Shinichi Mizuno 70 69, Jakraphan Premsirigorn 71 68

Ends.

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