20th November 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Kim fires flawless 63 to lead PGM MIDF ADT Championship

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 20: Malaysia’s Leunkwang Kim fired a solid nine-under-par 63 to take a two-shot lead after the first round of the US$54,000 PGM MIDF ADT Championship on Wednesday.

Kim’s flawless round included nine birdies at the Kota Seriemas Golf and Country Club, which also marked his best tournament score as a professional.

The 24-year-old leads current Order of Merit (OOM) leader Naoki Sekito (65) by two shots, while Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas (66) trails by the Malaysian leader by three shots.

Malaysian duo Airil Zahari and M. Sasidaran complete the top five with matching 67s.

Kim became the first Malaysian to win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this year when he triumphed in Kuching back in September.

Clinching that first ADT title instilled loads of confidence in him coming into this event.

“I have been playing well, and winning only gave me more confidence. Today I started great with a 15-foot birdie putt on my first hole. That got me going,” said Kim.

Buoyed by that great opener on the 10th, the Malaysian was in imperious form as he reeled off another five birdies, including four consecutive ones from 12th.

He was not able to match the sublime start after the turn, but a further three birdies ensured he would head into the second round in pole position.

“I was struggling a little with my putting the last few days, but today everything seemed to fall into place. The course is also excellent, the greens are made for good putting.”

Kim is also the highest Malaysian on the ADT Order Of Merit at 19th place, but he is not thinking too far ahead just yet.

“Of course it would be nice for me to finish in the top seven, but there are still three tournaments left. I’m taking it one round at a time,” he said.


19th November 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Pannakorn readies for title assault at the PGM MIDF ADT Championship

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 19: Armed with a new back swing and a rise on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit ranking, Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas has set his sights on claiming the PGM MIDF ADT Championship which tees off on Wednesday.

Pannakorn moved up one rung to seventh place on the  Order of Merit, which is the cut-off mark for players vying to earn 2020 Asian Tour cards, after previous leader Joohyung Kim made his Asian Tour breakthrough at the Panasonic Open India on Sunday.  

Kim, who won his third AT title this season in Pakistan last month to earn playing rights on the Asian Tour for the remainder of the season, secured a one-year winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour following his victory.

Having secured his Asian Tour card for 2020, the 17-year-old teen sensation will no longer feature on the ADT Order of Merit as he will not be eligible for any of the remaining ADT events this season.

Pannakorn, who was crowned the ADT Order of Merit champion in 2017, is hoping to work his way back onto the Asian Tour by putting up a noteworthy performance in Malaysia this week.

“Now that Kim is no longer leading the Order of Merit, I have a good chance to qualify for the Asian Tour again.. That is my main goal. If I can hit well with my iron, I believe I have a good chance to win this tournament too,” said Pannakorn.

The 29-year-old has amassed US$19,764 thanks to a victory in Malaysia earlier in March. A good outing at the US$54,000 ADT event, held at the Kota Seriemas Golf and Country Club this week, will further consolidate his position.

“I have changed my grip and back swing, to get my distance back. In the last two years I have been a long hitter, but I have lost my distance and I want to get it back. I feel better, but still not 100 percent. I hope it’s a good week for me,” added Pannakorn.

Pannakorn became only the second Thai golfer to do lift the ADT Order of Merit crown after Pavit Tangkamolprasert did so in 2014.

“If I can play well in these two events coming up on the ADT, I will feel more comfortable heading into the season-ending Taifong Open in Chinese Taipei,” added Pannakorn, who won the Taifong Open in 2017.

The Thai is expected to face resistance from defending champion Sam Gillis, who is only two rungs below him on the Merit rankings.

New Order of Merit leader Naoki Sekito of Japan will be among the frontrunners for the title, along with his countryman Ryuichi Oiwa and Sweden’s Oscar Zetterwell.

Ends.


20th October 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Dominant Kim Triumphs By Massive Nine Shots To Win Raya Pakistan Open

Lahore, Pakistan, October 20: Korea’s Joohyung Kim stamped his class by capturing his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) title this season with a dominant wire-to-wire victory at the US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Sunday.

The 17-year-old Korean, who started his final round with a commanding 11-shot lead ensured he would become only the third player in the ADT history to win three times in a single season when he signed off with a one-over-par 73 to clinch the title by nine shots.

Only Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang and Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand have achieved the feat when they won three times in a single season on the ADT in 2014.

With his latest  victory, Kim is also assured of his immediate playing rights on the Asian Tour for the remainder of the 2019 season.

Pakistan’s Muhammad Shabbir finished in second place after posting a 67, while Fiji’s Sam Lee came in third courtesy of his final round 68.

Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang settled for fourth placed after signing for a 74 while  American Sam Gillis took fifth place by posting a 71.

Kim got off to a shaky start with a bogey on the second hole. He recovered quickly by firing two birdies on the third and sixth holes before dropping another shot on nine.

The Korean made further gains with birdies on 10 and 12 but dropped another three shots on holes 13, 14 and 17 before closing with a par on 18 for a winning total of 17-under-par 271.

“I know I had a big lead, but golf is a game that is not over until you have played the last hole. There were some tough pins out there and I made some mistakes, so fortunately that big lead helped,” said Kim, who had won in Malaysia and Indonesia earlier this season.

It was a well-deserved victory for Kim as it had been a physically demanding week where the young Korean had to play 28 holes on Saturday while trying to maintain his focus and composure on the final day at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.

“I lost a lot of energy after that 28 holes. Today I got off to a shaky start, but I told myself to hang in there and finish as strongly as I can.

“Moving to Thailand last year, where I’m based at now helped me to develop my game a lot. There are a lot of good golfers there and playing with them has made me better. But I still have a lot to learn,” said Kim, who cements his position as the Order of Merit leader with his accumulated earnings of US$59,444.47 on the money list.


19th October 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Kim takes commanding 11-shot lead at Raya Pakistan Open

Lahore, Pakistan, October 19: Korea’s Joohyung Kim opened up a commanding 11-shot lead after posting a solid  four-under-par 68 in  the penultimate round of the US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Saturday.

Kim, who did not manage to complete his second round on Friday due to weather delays, returned to complete his remaining 10 holes and sign for a low round 64 to seize the outright halfway lead by four at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.

The 17-year-old prodigy continued to pull away from his closest rivals when he traded six birdies against two bogeys for a three-day total of 18-under-par 198,  putting himself in pole position for an all-important third victory on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this season.

A third win this season will help him gain immediate playing rights on the Asian Tour for the remainder of the 2019 season. Only Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang and Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand have achieved the feat when they won three times in a single season on the ADT in 2014.

Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang battled to a 69 to take second place while Pakistan’s Muhammad Munir sits a further three shots back in third following a 71.

Kim, who had emerged victorious in Malaysia and Indonesia earlier this season,  just wanted to get enough rest after playing 28 holes on Saturday.

“I am tired but  will make sure I rest well ahead of the final round on Sunday. I was just tagging along on the first nine holes (third round), and trying to stay in the moment. Thankfully I got a big momentum going after that,” said Kim.

“I’ve put myself in a good  position  for the final round, but I still need a low score tomorrow,” he added.

Kim took a while to get going with two bogeys in the sixth and ninth hole. But he went on a good run after the turn with four birdies, including three in the final four holes.


18th October 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Gamma secures clubhouse lead at weather-disrupted Raya Pakistan Open

Lahore, Pakistan, October 18: Japan’s Nari Gamma shot a commendable four-under-par 68 to  take the halfway clubhouse lead at the weather-hit US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Friday.

Gamma, who held a share of the opening round lead after carding a 66, fired six birdies against two bogeys to stay atop the leaderboard with a two-day total of 10-under-par 134 at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.

Local prospect  Muhammad Munir and Singapore’s Mitchell Slorach moved into third place on matching 141 after posting rounds of 72 and 70 respectively.

Overnight co-leader Joohyung Kim of Korea is one of the 48 players, who will return to complete their second rounds at 7.30am local time on Saturday. Play was halted for two hours and 40 minutes due to lightning threats at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.

“To be honest, I am surprised to keep a low score despite the tough conditions today. My aim was to keep the pace of my putting. The delay also helped me improve my iron game on the soft greens,” said Gamma.

“The front nine was a bit tricky from the fairways, but I’m pleased to score a couple of birdies on the back nine.”

Gamma, who  turned professional two years ago, did not start well after mixing two birdies with two bogeys in the opening nine holes.

But bad weather proved a good omen for the Japanese, who fired four birdies after the turn to lead for the second consecutive day.

Gamma also reserved praise for the local golfers in this Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

“Some of them are really good, and I expect a tough competition until Sunday. Just hoping to keep a low score in the next two days.”

Pakistan’s Aadil Jehangir fired a hole-in-one on the par-three 17th hole for what is the is 21st ace in his career.

“Well, I have only shot four aces in professional tournaments, but I have to say this one was the most special. It only had one bounce before going in! I am pleased and it gives me some boost for the rest of the tournament.”


17th October 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Kim shares opening round lead with Gamma at the Raya Pakistan Open

Lahore, Pakistan, October 17: Korean Joohyung Kim showed great resolve of winning the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit when he fired a six-under-par 66 to grab a share of the first round lead with Japan’s Nari Gamma at the US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Thursday.

The 17-year-old, buoyed after taking over top spot of the money list recently, bounced back superbly from an opening bogey to fire seven birdies to share the day’s honour with Gamma at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.

The duo are two shots ahead of Sweden’s Oscar Zetterwall, whose flawless 68 comprised of four birdies which all came on the front nine.

The local contingent showed they are certainly no pushovers with as many as seven of them, including amateur Zohaib Asif and seasoned campaigner Muhammad Munir bunched in fourth place alongside one-time ADT champion Sam Gillis of the United States.

“I kept it in position today, hitting the fairways and lots of greens to set up plenty of birdie opportunities. And of course, what mattered most was to make the them count,” said Kim.

Kim started on the back foot when he bogeyed the par-four first hole. But he was undeterred.

Kim responded almost immediately with two successive birdies before making further gain on eight to turn in 34.

On his return inward-nine, Kim powered his way to four more birdies including a sublime 30-footer on 14.

“I made a good long putt on 14, it was from about 30 feet.  That birdie which came on the toughest hole of this course really got my momentum going as I finished off nicely with another couple more on 16 and 17.  

“I’m happy with how I’ve played today and hopefully this good form continues for the rest of the week,” he added.

For Gamma, it was certainly a day to savour as it is the first time he made it to the top of the leaderboard since turning professional two years ago.

Playing in the afternoon group, he matched Kim’s effort by marking his bogey-free scorecard with six birdies, including three in his last five holes.

“This is the first time I lead or co-lead in a tournament as a professional, I’m very happy!

“I missed the green only on one hole, so my iron play was pretty good today. I’m loving the golf course and the condition is great. So, hopefully i can have a good round tmorrow again” said the Japanese.


16th October 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Kim aims to strengthen merit position at Raya Pakistan Open

Lahore, Pakistan, October 16: Joohyung Kim of Korea is determined to extend his lead on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit with another commanding performance at the Raya Pakistan Open which starts on Thursday.

The in-form 17-year-old had just dethroned Japan’s Naoki Sekito as the Merit leader thanks to a solid tied-fifth finish at the Combiphar Players Championship in Indonesia a fortnight ago.

With his eyes now set on becoming the youngest-ever ADT Order of Merit champion, Kim is targeting another grandstand finish at the US$80,000 tournament, which is the fourth last event on the region’s secondary circuit.

Kim stressed the importance of taking advantage of the absence of his closest rivals especially Sekito and Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat, ranked second and third on the money list respectively,

“It’s a pretty important week here because we don’t have lot of events left and a lot of the rivals are not here.

“A good week here can give me a bit of breathing space, but the plan is just try the best I can and hope for the best,” said Kim, who boast two victories in his last six ADT starts.

Besides the Merit charge, Kim will certainly tee off at the Defence Raya Golf Club with an added motivation knowing that he is just one title shy of an immediate Asian Tour promotion.

“I’m just trying to play the best that I can and I would say that goes for every week. But without a doubt if I play my A game I know I have chance to be up there,” said the winner of PGM ADT Tiara Melaka and Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament.

Kim has heaped praise on the organisers for reviving the Pakistan Open after a lapse of 10 years, adding that it augurs well for the golf development in the country.

The Pakistan Open, which was inaugurated in 1967, had previously featured twice on the Asian Tour schedule in 2006 and 2007.

“It is my first time in Pakistan and it’s a good experience for me to come to a country I’ve never been to and play.

“I have no doubt that the event is going to generate a positive impact. This is no ordinary tournament, it is a national Open, which the people of Pakistan can be proud of!

“I’m hoping that all of us who are competing this week can play a big role in helping to grow the sport in this country. I’m absolutely honoured to be playing here this week,” said the Korean.


27th September 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Oiwa clinches Combiphar Players Championship in dramatic fashion after playoff victory

Bandung, Indonesia, September 27: Japan’s Ryuichi Oiwa captured his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title after he beat American Trevor Simsby in a dramatic second hole playoff victory to claim the Combiphar Players Championship on Friday.

Simsby had led by two shots coming into the final round, but Oiwa who started the day in second, posted the lowest score of the day with a six-under-par 66 to tie Simsby for a four-day total of 12-under-par 276.

It was all square after 18-holes, and playoffs beckoned to decide the winner. After both golfers made par on the first playoff hole, Simsby bogeyed the second hole, leaving Oiwa to make par and clinch a momentous triumph.

Englishman Steve Lewton finished in third courtesy of a 67, while Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-lun was in fourth after he posted a 70.

Korea’s Joohyung Kim was among a trio of golfers who finished in tied-fifth thanks to a solid round of 67, along with Thai duo Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (69) and Jakraphan Premsirigorn (73).

Oiwa admitted he felt immense pressure heading into the playoffs, but kept his focus when it mattered most.

“It was a pressure situation for sure. But I knew it was all about the putting, and I needed to concentrate. Overall, I missed only one fairway and made six birdies. I was confident with my tee shots and second shots,” said Oiwa, who pocketed US$17,500 for the victory.

The world number 1233 also said he did not change his approach for this tournament, except for the use of  a new putter.

Oiwa, who began on the last flight with Simsby, found two consecutive birdies on the third and fourth before claiming another on the sixth hole.

He began the back-nine with two consecutive birdies, and sank a crucial one in the final hole to force the playoffs.

Victory also puts the Japanese seventh on the Order of Merit (OOM) list, which offers a final spot to the Asian Tour next year.

“I hope to play in another two more tournaments this year to secure my Asian Tour card. I will be playing in the Taifong Open in December, and possibly another event in Malaysia.”

Simsby, who led the second and third round, said his putting let him down.

“Overall my putting wasn’t the greatest, and there were a lot of missed opportunities. But it was a good battle with him out there, and I had a lot of fun,” said Simsby, who was seeking his first win in Asia.

The OOM standings has also changed, with Kim replacing Japan’s Naoki Sekito at the top after his solid finish.

The Korean leads the money list with his accumulated earnings of US$45,444 so far.


26th September 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Consistent Simsby continues to lead Combiphar Players Championship

Bandung, Indonesia, September 26: American Trevor Simsby increased his lead at the Combiphar Players Championship by two shots, after carding a two-under-par 70 at the penultimate stage on Thursday.

Simsby managed four birdies against two bogeys for a three-day total of eight-under-par 208 on a day where the gusty winds at the  Parahyangan Golf proved to be another real test for the field.

Japan’s Ryuichi Oiwa tailed Simsby by two shots in second place while Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-lun are a further three shots back are in the tied-third, after  the trioshot matching 71s.

Malaysia’s promising youngster Shahrifuddin Ariffin (70) meanwhile shared fifth place with American Sam Gillis (71).

The 26-year-old Simsby, who led by one shot coming into Thursday’s round, reckons patience is a key virtue as he aims for his first title in Asia.

“It’s very tricky with the winds here, and you have to be really patient with your approach on this course. The aim is to get the ball as close to the par-fives as much as possible,” said Simsby, who posted matching 69s in the opening two rounds.

“I was looking at birdies on the front nine, but it was a tough test on the back to finish.”

Simsby has come close to a maiden victory on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) circuit, with two tied-fourth finishes at the PGM ADT Penang Championship and PGM Northport ADT Championship.

Englishman Steve Lewton, who posted 68 for the lowest score of the day, said the wind is a barrier as only 26 golfers made par in the US$100,000 ADT event on Thursday.

“It’s a tough course with the winds. You have to hit it really close to the greens to have a chance. But I’m hoping for the wind tomorrow as it suits my game,” said Lewton, who was tied for seventh with Malaysia’s Amir Nazrin.

Lewton will be hoping for another low round as he aims to make it to the Asian Tour next year.

He is currently in seventh place on the Order of Merit (OOM), which is the last position to offer a spot on the Asian Tour.

Korea’s Joohyung Kim, the highest ranked player in second place on the OOM, carded a 71 to sit tied-16.


25th September 2019 | Asian Development Tour

Simsby moves into halfway lead at Combiphar Players Championship

Bandung, Indonesia, September 25: American Trevor Simsby posted a second straight three-under-par 69 to grab a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Combiphar Players Championship on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Simsby carded seven birdies against four bogeys to move atop the leaderboard with a two-day total of six-under-par 138 at the wind-swept Parahyangan Golf.

Japan’s Ryuichi Oiwa marked the day’s best score with a 68 to take second place on a tough scoring day where only nine players broke par in the US$100,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.  

Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn and Wang Wei-lun of Chinese Taipei settled four shots off the pace in  tied-third place following  respective scores of 71 and 73.

Malaysian Amir Nazrin battled to a 70 to sit in fifth place alongside  Sam Gillis (73) of United States, Englishman Matt Killen (71) and Singapore’s Jesse Yap (73) on matching 143s.

“I was feeling confident out there today. I was also fortunate because there wasn’t much wind when I teed off, compared to the opening round when it was really windy in the afternoon,” said Simsby, who started the day trailing by two.

“I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, but I’m glad to have bounced back nicely. You need to be patient on a new course like this, it can be tricky and not the way you look at it. The fairways and bunker were perfect though,” added the 26-year-old Qualifying School graduate.

Simsby, playing in his first season in Asia, is thrilled to put himself on course to win his first victory on the secondary circuit.

He has come close on several occasions, finishing tied-fourth at the PGM ADT Penang Championship and PGM Northport ADT Championship.

Overnight leader Brandon Lau of Malaysia posted a disappointing 83 to slip to tied-40th place which Korea’s Joohyung Kim, highest-ranked player in second place on the Order of Merit, carded a 75 to tie in 27th position.

The halfway cut was set at eight-over-par 152 with a total of 54 players progressing to the weekend rounds.

Ends.

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