Naito makes move in Johor

Hirotaro Naito © Asian Tour

Johor Bahru: Rizal Amin was the best placed Malaysian after the penultimate round of the rain-hit Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Johor Masters concluded late this evening.

The burly Rizal shot a three-under 69 at Johor Golf & Country Club to lie in lone fourth place with a three-day total of as  current Asian DT Order of Merit leader R. Nachimuthu slipped back to 14th place following a round of 74.

But the attention was further up the leaderboard of the RM180,000 (approximately US$60,000) Asian Development Tour event as Japan’s Hirotaro Naito fired a flawless six-under-par 66 to take a share of the lead with Australian Luke Bleumink on six-under 210.

Naito was five shots off the lead at the start of the day but made a splendid charge with six birdies for a three-day total of six-under-par 210 which was matched by Bleumink.  Will Yanagisawa of the United States, Grant Jackson of England and overnight leader Huang Tao of Chinese Taipei were a further two shots back.

Naito, who lost his Asian Tour card last year, was delighted with his polished 66 which pushed him into contention for a first ADT win.

The 29-year-old knows a victory this week will put him in good position of finishing in the top-three of the Order of Merit at the end of the season and earn an Asian Tour card for 2013.

“Everything clicked for me after the first round (shot a 75). My game seems to be shaping up nicely and I’m confident of making a title charge tomorrow,” said Naito, who has one win in Japan.

“This is an important week for me. I lost my Asian Tour card last year so I have a chance to regain it through the ADT,” he added.

Leading third round scores
210 – Luke Bleumink (AUS) 70-72-68, Hirotaro Naito (JPN) 75-69-66
212 – Grant Jackson (ENG) 71-69-72, Will Yanagisawa (USA) 73-70-69
214 – Rizal Amin (MAS) 74-71-69
215 – Wang Tsung-chieh (TPE) 72-68-75, Senroku Isa (JPN) 73-69-73, Charles Hong (PHI) 72-71-72, Mohd Hafiy (MAS) 73-72-70, Rick Gibson (CAN) 75-71-69, Park Jin-woo (KOR) 74-73-68, Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 72-76-67