29th June 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Steady Kim seals maiden ADT victory at the PGM ADT Championship @ Tiara Melaka

Melaka, Malaysia, June 29: Young Korean Joohyung Kim birdied three of his closing four holes to post a six-under-par 66 and secure his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) win in the final round of the PGM ADT Championship @ Tiara Melaka on Saturday.

The 17-year-old Korean held his nerve to convert his multiple close calls this season into a stunning six-shot victory with his four-day total of 23-under-par 265 at the RM 225,000 (US$54,000) event staged at the Tiara Melaka Golf and Country Club.

Japan’s Naoki Sekito put up a strong final-day charge to card a flawless 66 which included an eagle on hole 16 to take a share of second place with Malaysia’s Sukree Othman (68). Sekito moved up to take over the top spot on the ADT Order of Merit following his strong finish.

Malaysia’s Amir Nazrin produced the shot of the day when he scored his first professional ace on hole four with his nine-iron from 176 yards. He went on to sign for an eventual 73 to end his campaign in tied-32nd.

“It feels so great to finally win, like I said I’ve come so close so many times and to be able to finish it off despite all the pressure I felt today is fantastic,” said Kim, who 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.

Kim returned this morning to finish three holes for a third-round 67 and brought a four-shot lead into the final round. He traded seven birdies against one bogey to become the second Korean to ever win on the ADT following countryman Seung Park.

“I came into the final round with  and then started off with a bogey. I just told myself to stay patient and to just do the best that I can. Coming to end of the round I just knew I was in control and the pressure slowly went away,” added Kim, who is also a two-time winner on the Philippine Golf Tour.

Prior to this week, Kim was knocking hard on the door to his first ADT victory with three top-five finishes this year highlighted by a joint runner-up result in Thailand last month.

Displaying the maturity of an experienced Tour golfer despite only joining the play-for-pay ranks last year, the young Kim was glad to finally get the job done.

“I was in the eighth spot on the Order of Merit before this week. I’m glad to finally move into the top-seven and hopefully I can win a couple more events this year to stay up there,” added the Korean, who moved up to take the third spot on the Merit list.

Leading final round scores :

265 – Joohyung Kim 69 63 67 66

271 – Naoki Sekito 70 65 70 66, Sukree Othman 70 66 67 68

273 – Panuwat Muenlek 71 68 69 65, Chinnarat Phadungsil 70 68 66 69

275 – Shahriffuddin Ariffin 70 67 71 67, Ben Leong 68 69 70 68


28th June 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Kim stays in pole position at the PGM ADT Championship @ Tiara Melaka

Melaka, Malaysia, June 28: Korea’s Joohyung Kim remains the man to beat as he holds a four-shot lead following a five-under-par 67 at the penultimate round of the PGM ADT Championship @ Tiara Melaka on Friday.

The 17-year-old Korean only managed to finish 15 holes before play was abandoned for the day at 7.16pm due to fading light at the RM 225,000 (US$54,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

He was among 11 players who resumed their third rounds at 7.30am on Saturday morning at the Tiara Melaka Golf and Country Club.

Kim, who joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2018, compiled a three-day total of 17-under-par 199 to stay in position for his maiden ADT victory. Two players trail behind him in second place after posting matching 67s. They include Fiji’s Sam Lee and Malaysia’s Sukree Othman.

Kim, who set the course ablaze with a stunning 63 in the second round, extended his hot form with three birdies in his opening nine holes to make the turn in 33. He went on to nail birdies on holes 10, 13 and 16 before dropping his first shot of the day on hole 17 for inward 34.

“I started off with two good holes after making birdie putts inside five feet. It was another stress-free round today thanks to my short game and I was hitting it much better,” said Kim, who is a two-time winner on the Philippine Golf Tour.

“I made a good par save on hole five from the bunker which was my best shot of the day and two more birdies before it got dark. Overall I am in good position but I don’t want to think about it because there is another day tomorrow and it is not over till it’s over.

“I have been in this position a couple of times already this season, hopefully it will be my time tomorrow,” added the young Korean, who is based in Thailand.

Leading third round scores:

199 – Joohyung Kim 69 63 67

203 – Sam Lee 70 66 67, Sukree Othman 70 66 67

204 – Chinnarat Phadungsil 70 68 66

205 – Naoki Sekito 70 65 70

207 – Donlaphatchai Niyomchon 72 68 67, Quincy Quek 71 68 68, Danny Masrin 70 68 69, Pannakorn Uthaipas 69 68 70, Ben Leong 68 69 70, Nicholas Latimer 70 67 70

Ends.


28th May 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Consistent Itthipat holds mid-season lead on the ADT Order of Merit

Sentosa, Singapore, May 28: Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat has never fallen out of the lead on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit since securing his third victory at the season-opening Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on home soil in January.

The 26-year-old Thai earned a total of US$27,266 in six starts on the ADT this season, thanks to a win and two top-10 finishes. He has yet to miss a single cut this season on the region’s secondary circuit, which was launched as a gateway to the Asian Tour in 2010.

Itthipat had secured his maiden ADT title in the Philippines in 2015 before winning the season-opener in Singapore in 2016. He capped his career-best season yet on the ADT by finishing fourth on the 2016 Order of Merit to secure his Asian Tour card for 2017.

After failing to keep his Asian Tour card for 2018, Itthipat returned to hone his skills on the ADT and his efforts were finally paid off when he made it into the winner’s circle again at the start of the season. Now, he is in the running to become the third Thai player, following Pavit Tangkamolprasert (2014) and Pannakorn Uthaipas (2017), to lift the ADT Order of Merit crown.

Itthipat, who earned his 2019 Asian Tour card after finishing third at the Qualifying School last December, pointed to a combination of mental and technical changes he made that helped put his game back on track.

“The biggest change I made for this year was fixing my swing and concentrating on my mental game,” said the amiable Thai.

“I am excited to be at the top of the Merit rankings right now, but I always remind myself that there are many other players who are trying to compete for that position. I will have to keep playing well and make it harder for them to catch up with me,” added Itthipat.

Japan’s Naoki Sekito, playing in his second season on the ADT, trails Itthipat by a mere US$2,833 in second place on the money list.

The 21-year-old Sekito has displayed impressive form to claim his first ADT win at the PGM ADT Penang Championship and cap two runner-up finishes in five starts this season.

Qualifying School graduate Kosuke Hamamoto of Thailand sits in third place with earnings of US$18,827 while Kazuki Higa of Japan and Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas, both winners again on Tour this season, take fourth and fifth positions respectively.

Earlier in February, Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana savoured his first professional victory at the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation 2019. The young Thai became the record fastest Qualifying School graduate to win on the Asian Tour when he won in his first start at the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open in April.

Sadom has since been removed from the ADT Merit rankings as he has earned an exemption on the Asian Tour till the end of the 2020 season.

The ADT also celebrated its first winner from Korea earlier this month when newcomer Seung Park won in only his second start on the ADT at the OB Golf Invitational in Indonesia.

Reigning ADT number one, Miguel Carballo of Argentina, emerged triumphant at the Singha Laguna Phuket Open to clinch his second title two weeks ago. It was the second time he won in a play-off and he would move to seventh place on the Merit rankings.

ADT hopefuls will continue their chase for the seven Asian Tour cards on offer when the Merit race resumes at the PGM CCM & CCM Duopharma ADT Championship next month.

The tournament, which will mark the ninth leg of the ADT schedule this season, will take place at the Tiara Melaka Golf and Country Club in Malaysia from June 26 to 29.

 


19th May 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Triumphant Carballo wins again at the Singha Laguna Phuket Open

Phuket, Thailand, May 19: Argentina’s Miguel Carballo prevailed on the first play-off hole to win his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) title in the final round of the Singha Laguna Phuket Open on Sunday.

Carballo entered the round four shots off the pace, but a birdie blitz led him to close with a six-under-par 64 and force a play-off with Joohyung Kim of Korea and Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil at the award-winning Laguna Golf Phuket.

Kim and Chinnarat returned with rounds of 68 and 65 respectively to tie with Carballo on a 15-under-par 265 total at the end of regulation play at the THB 2,000,000 (approximately US$63,860) event co-sanctioned by the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT).

The 40-year-old Carballo only needed one extra hole to edge out his competitors on the par-four 18th hole, after rolling in a crucial six-foot putt for birdie while Kim and Chinnarat settled for tied-second.

Carballo, the reigning ADT Order of Merit winner, dropped a shot on his first hole but recovered with a birdie on the second. He gained momentum towards the middle of the round with five straight birdies starting from the sixth hole and added an eagle on hole 14 that ensured his place in the play-off.

“I played solidly all four rounds and was hitting it good. All my birdie putts were either tap-ins or inside 10-feet and I gave myself a lot of chances. I made bogeys today on holes one and hole 18 which were the only two holes that I three-putted,” said Carballo, who dropped another shot on his way home.

The victory marked his second ADT title since he triumphed in a seven-hole play-off battle in Indonesia last August and became the first Argentinean to win on the region’s secondary circuit.

“I am very happy to win again. It is my second play-off victory on the ADT and it came at the right time because I was planning on going back to Argentina for a month after this. My goal now is to win on the Asian Tour,” added Carballo, who took home a prize purse of US$ 9,121 and six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.

Mr Ravi Chardran, Managing Director of Laguna Golf Phuket, was pleased to welcome another worthy champion at the third edition of the Singha Laguna Phuket Open.

“Thanks to All Thailand Golf Tour and Asian Development Tour for bringing this event back to Laguna Phuket, following our recent award of “Best Sports Event Venue in Thailand” at SPIA Asia. With our long history of destination sporting events including the Marathon and Triathlon, this professional golf tournament is now another highlight on our annual calendar,”

“Although nobody walked away with Banyan Tree Group’s special USD10,000 hole-in-one prize, Argentina’s Miguel Carballo will get to stay at our flagship resort Banyan Tree Phuket as part of his winning prize,” added Mr Chardran.

Leading final round scores:

265 – Miguel Carballo 65 68 68 64, Chinnarat Phadungsil 68 64 68 65, Joohyung Kim 65 65 67 68

267 – Hein Sithu 69 68 63 67

268 – Danny Masrin 63 69 67 69

269 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat 69 70 65 65, Sam Gillis 67 69 66 67, Pannakorn Uthaipas 70 66 64 69, Suradit Yongcharoenchai 68 66 64 71


10th May 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Park becomes first Korean to win on the ADT at the OB Golf Invitational

Jakarta, Indonesia, May 10: Newcomer Seung Park became the first Korean to win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) after prevailing on the second play-off hole to claim his maiden professional title at the OB Golf Invitational on Friday.

Starting the day four shots off the pace, Park traded five birdies against a bogey to close with a four-under-par 68, matching the four-day efforts of Thailand’s Panuwat Muenlek, who returned with a 67, at the US$65,000 ADT event.

The duo, who were tied on 14-under-par 274 total following regulation play, were forced to go the distance as they returned to the par-five 18th hole for the sudden death play-off at the highly-acclaimed Royal Jakarta Golf Club, which is a regular host venue on the Asian Tour.

It was the 22-year-old Park who eventually triumphed after pipping Panuwat to the title with a par against a bogey on the 74th hole. Despite taking four shots to reach the green, Park rolled in a 12-footer for par while Panuwat two-putted from six feet to settle for a bogey.

“I didn’t expect anything coming in to this week. It feels so surreal to win, especially with my father cheering me on all week. I almost cried walking off the green after I sank that putt,” said the young Korean, who missed the mark at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January.

Park, who had his father supporting him from the sidelines all week, took home a winner’s purse of US$11,375 and received six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, thanks to his victory.

“It has been a tough few years and I haven’t been striking it well since I finished my military service in January. My game just peaked at the right time and I am glad to have earned my first professional victory,” added Park, who propelled to seventh place on the ADT Order of Merit following his win

“I played really well today, coming back from five shots behind. Even though I lost today, I am happy because I gave myself a chance to fight for another ADT victory in a play-off. I will keep trying because I know a win will come soon,” said the 33-year-old Thai, who had missed out on his fifth ADT title following the play-off defeat.

Leading final round scores:

274 – Seung Park 71 67 68 68, Panuwat Muenlek 71 67 69 67

276 – Masaru Takahashi 70 71 70 65, Wang Wei-lun 67 67 70 72

277 – Danny Masrin 69 66 72 70, Sorachut Hansapiban 68 69 70 70, Rory Hie 68 66 71 72, George Gandranata 68 69 68 72, Hayato Yoshida 68 69 68 72

Ends.


27th April 2019 | Asian Development Tour

‘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.


20th April 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Sekito celebrates breakthrough at the PGM ADT Penang Championship

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.


11th April 2019 | Asian Development Tour

OB Golf Invitational returns to ADT schedule

Jakarta, Indonesia, April 11: The OB Golf Invitational will celebrate its second edition on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) when it gets underway in Indonesia from May 7 to 10.

The US$65,000 event will be staged at the highly-acclaimed Royale Jakarta Golf Club, a world-class Championship course that is a regular host venue of the Indonesian Masters on the Asian Tour.

A talented 144-men field are set to compete in the event, which marks the Tour’s first stop in Indonesia and the seventh leg on the ADT schedule this season.

The inaugural OB Golf Invitational in 2018 welcomed a worthy champion in Japan’s Shohei Hasegawa who clinched his maiden ADT victory and first professional win by one shot.

Indonesia’s George Gandranata emerged as the highest-placed local finisher, compiling a three-day total of seven-under-par 206 to take fourth place.

Jimmy Masrin, owner of OB Golf, hailed the return of the tournament which will provide more opportunities for Indonesian players to improve their ranks on the OWGR and boost their chances of representing their country at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“We are thrilled to be back on the ADT schedule, that has proven to be a successful platform for aspiring golfers to gain valuable competitive golf experience.

“We are certain that the staging of this event will once again present an exciting opportunity for our home-grown players to pit their skills against the best in the region and improve on their rankings with the OWGR points on offer,” said Masrin.

Cho Minn Thant, Chief Operating Officer of the Asian Tour, lauded the return of the event on the growing ADT schedule.

“We are delighted to be back in Indonesia for another successful staging of the OB Golf Invitational. The country has produced top-notch players like Danny Masrin, the highest-ranked Indonesian on the OWGR, as well as George Gandranata, a one-time winner on the ADT.

“On behalf of the Tour and our players, we would like to express our appreciation to OB Golf for promoting the event and the PGATI for sharing in the mission of the ADT in supporting the growth of the sport in the region,” said Cho.

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.

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 seven 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.


16th March 2019 | Asian Development Tour

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.

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


13th March 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Leong sets early pace

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

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