Kuching: R. Nachimuthu is on the verge of winning his first tournament this season on the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour after shooting a two-under 70 in the third round of MNRB Sarawak Masters on Saturday.
Nachimuthu, winner of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s Order of Merit in 2011, compiled a three-day total of 11-under-par 205 for a one-shot advantage over Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn, who returned with a 70, at the RM200,000 (approximately US$65,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) co-sanctioned event.
Local favourite Nicholas Fung signed for a 71 to take third place on 207 while Filipino Rufino Bayron, brother of the reigning ADT Order of Merit winner Jay Bayron, surged into contention with a bogey-free 68 for fourth at the Sarawak Golf Club.
Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert and S. Murthy of Malaysia took a share of fifth place after signing for rounds of 67 and 68 respectively.
Nachimuthu, who returned early in the morning to complete his second round with a two-under 70 effort, mixed his card with four birdies against two bogeys. The consistent veteran is hopeful that he can continue to capitalise on his lead and turn it into victory on Sunday.
“I missed some putts today but overall, I’m happy with how I played. I’m reading the greens better now. I just hope to stay focused on my game and hopefully win tomorrow,” said the 42-year-old.
Jakraphan, who suffered a one-stroke penalty for slow play on the 14th, is determined to mount a big final round charge
“I guess I was really unlucky today to get penalised for slow play but that didn’t really affect my game. I’m feeling very excited with the final round. I just hope to have fun and enjoy myself tomorrow,” said the 21-year-old, who has notched three top-10 finishes on the ADT this season.
Fung, who is currently third on the ADT Order of Merit, was disappointed with his putting but hopes to turn his game around. “It’s just not my day. I played well but I just couldn’t make my putts. The course seems to get tougher and tougher for me each day.
“I just want to play my own game and not care about anything else. I will need to play well tomorrow to win the tournament,” said the 23-year-old, who is eyeing for his fourth win of the year on the burgeoning domestic circuit.
Leading third round scores (Malaysian unless stated):
205 – R. Nachimuthu 65-70-70
206 – Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA) 69-67-70
207 – Nicholas Fung 66-70-71
208 – Rufino Bayron (PHI) 73-67-68
209 – Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 73-69-67, S. Murthy 72-69-68
210 – Faridil Atras 71-71-68, Darren Tan (AUS) 71-70-69, Masaru Takahashi (JPN) 70-70-70, Charles Hong (PHI) 73-67-70, Adam Blyth (AUS) 72-67-71, Hans Jamil 67-70-73