Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert fired a superb five-under-par 67 to share the third round lead with countryman Tirawat Kaewsiribandit in the RM250,000 (approximately US$80,000) PGM MNRB Sarawak Championship on Friday.
The 25-year-old Pavit, ranked third on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit, sank six birdies against a lone bogey at the Sarawak Golf Club to tie overnight leader Tirawat on 11-under-par 205.
Rookie Tirawat enjoyed a glorious start by recording his career’s first hole-in-one with an eight iron on the par three third hole and led comfortably for most of the third round before slipping up with a bogey and double bogey on 16 and 18.
Another Thai, Pasamet Pogamnerd, battled to a 72 for third place, three behind the co-leaders, while England’s Grant Jackson posted a 73 to lie a further stroke back. Arie Irawan (71) and Sukree Othman (74) are the best Malaysians in tied sixth place on 211.
The talented Pavit was delighted to move into position to win a second ADT title of the season in his aim to cement his position on the Merit list. The top-five finishers will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour in 2015.
“My driver was good and I gave myself a lot of chances. I managed to hit some really good irons on several holes for tap-in birdies,” said a delighted Pavit. “I will go out tomorrow with the intention to enjoy the round. I won’t be thinking about winning. The result will come if I perform. I’m happy that everything is going well. We’re also playing on a good course, which I enjoy.”
The young Thai, who has posted five other top-fives this season including a third place finish in Sabah last week, credits Asian Tour star and countryman Prom Meesawat for his outstanding run of form on the ADT.
“I haven’t worked on my swing too much but I’ve worked on my mental aspect. I play a lot with Prom and he gives me a lot of good advice. He has emphasized on tournament preparation and reminds me to simply aim for two-under rounds whenever I go out and not put pressure on myself,” said Pavit.
“I have played in the last group on a few occasions this season, so there is no pressure on me tomorrow.”
The pressure did have a telling effect on newcomer Tirawat, who found the watery grave with an errant drive at the last hole which cost him a double bogey and the outright lead. “It was a bad finish as I felt the pressure over the closing holes. I just hit a poor drive on 18,” said Tirawat.
While he found joy with his first ace in the play-for-pay ranks, Tirawat hopes to finish at the top of the leaderboard tomorrow as he faces off with Pavit. “The hole-in-one was nice as I hit a good tee shot which took one bounce before rolling into the hole,” said the 24-year-old.
“It was my first time playing in a final group today and there was pressure. I hope to enjoy my round better tomorrow.”
Since its inauguration in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 20 tournaments in 2014. All ADT events also receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points which is a boost for the game in the region.
Leading third round scores
205: Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 69-69-67, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 67-68-70
208: Pasamet POGAMNERD (THA) 68-68-72
209: Grant JACKSON (ENG) 66-70-73
210: Peter RICHARDSON (ENG) 72-72-66
211: Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 72-71-68, Shaun MALONE (ENG) 68-74-69, Arie IRAWAN (MAS) 71-69-71, Michael MOORE (AUS) 68-71-72, Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 69-68-74,
212: Annop TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 76-67-69, Tirto TAMARDI (INA) 75-70-67, Brett MUNSON (USA) 72-70-70