11 April 2018

Three-Way Tie For Halfway Lead At Pgm Johor Championship

Johor Bahru, Malaysia, April 5:  Local hope Arie Irawan took advantage of his morning draw by signing for a second round seven-under-par 65 to take a share of the clubhouse lead with Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan and Thailand’s Sorachut Hansapiban at the weather-hit PGM Johor Championship on Thursday.

Koh fired a 66 while Sorachut signed for a 69 to join Irawan at the top of the leaderboard with their matching totals of eight-under-par 136 at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club.

Play was suspended at 4.23pm local time due to lightning threats at then abandoned at 5.30pm due to persistent rain.

A total of 48 players will resume their second round on Friday at 7.30am with the third round starting no earlier than 9.45am.

Irawan, who is preparing for his wedding next month, enjoyed similar bliss on the course when he fired nine birdies and two bogeys at the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event to edge closer to his third ADT win despite his unlucky break on 18.

“I had a pretty interesting round, nine birdies two bogeys one lost ball and one hazard ball. On hole 18 my ball went right and I thought it was lost so I ended up taking a penalty. I hit my second tee shot into the rough on the left and then holed out from 121-yards with my wedge to save par,” said Irawan.

After shooting four rounds in the 70s when he last played at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club last month, the Malaysian took pride in his battling performance which saw him navigate his way around the same course with just 20 putts in total.

“I played here in March and came in 18th place so I wanted to do better this week and I knew how to play the holes already. I hit a lot of good shots yesterday but I didn’t commit to my putts. So, my goal was to commit to my putts and have simple thoughts over the ball. I liked my momentum throughout the round and I felt like everything was in slow motion,” said the 27-year-old.

Koh meanwhile banked on his course familiarity and astute game plan to keep him ahead of the chasing pack.

“I hit my driver good today and I kept to my game plan of keeping the ball below the hole all day. I putted well too, read the lines well and had a few lucky breaks which helped. The greens are firm on this course and it’s not easy to stop the ball so you need to land it in the right section on the green. I feel comfortable here since Johor feels like home and we’re just across the border so that’s why I think a lot of Singaporeans are doing well,” said Koh.

Sorachut, who earned his Asian Tour card earlier this year by finishing second at Asian Tour Qualifying School, will adopt a relaxed approach as he heads into his final two rounds.

“My approach shots were pretty solid today and my putting was good too. The pins were a little tougher compared to yesterday so I just played it safe. I don’t expect much from myself even though my name is up there on the leaderboard because anything can happen,” said Sorachut.

Malaysia’s Ben Leong carded a second round 70 and American Tarik Can with 68 sit in tied-4th on a 137 total.

Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on All ADT events with the winner earning a total of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.

The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2019 season.


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