Rawang: Malaysia’s top amateur Gavin Green raced to a commanding nine-shot lead after firing a five-under-par 67 in the third round of the PGM Vascory Templer Park Championship on Friday.
The big-hitting Green, who held a two-stroke halfway lead, put one hand on the trophy of the RM250,000 (approximately US$80,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event with his three-day total of 18-under-par 198 aggregate.
Thailand’s Kwanchai Tannin, who carded the day’s lowest round of 66, moved into second place behind the 20-year-old Malaysian while local trio Airil Rizman, Khor Kheng Hwai and Shaaban Hussin shared third place on 208 after rounds of 69, 73 and 75 respectively at the Templer Park Country Club.
Defending champion Nicholas Fung of Malaysia was 11 shots off the pace in tied sixth position with compatriot Abel Tam, who signed for a 67 to mark his best round on the ADT since turning professional earlier this year.
Having enjoyed several impressive wins on the college circuit in the United States, Green, who is playing in his first PGM/ADT event this week, was delighted to put himself in prime position to win a first professional tournament.
“I hit it solid again. I didn’t hole as many putts as I could on my front nine but it got better on the back nine, especially towards the last few holes which were very important. That gave me a lot of confidence. I am very happy with my current standing now,” said Green, who fired six birdies against a lone bogey.
Green believes he can go on to complete a popular home victory and underline his growing credentials as the nation’s leading golfer by maintaining his focus over the final 18 holes on Saturday.
“My game is really solid right now. I just have to continue doing what I have been doing. The weather is really hot out there. It is very important to concentrate on my game. I have been telling myself to stay patient. I will play my best tomorrow,” added Green, who is currently ranked 23rd on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).
Green has also made an impression on the premier Asian Tour when he competed in the 2008 Iskandar Johor Open as a 14 years old. The 2012 Malaysian Amateur Open champion earned his stripes against the pros when he finished tied 18th and 22nd at the 2012 Iskandar Johor Open and 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open respectively. He was also in contention at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters last year before settling for tied sixth place.
“I’ve gained a lot of good experiences playing on the Asian Tour and that has helped build up my career a lot. It’s good to see where I stand amongst the pros and I learn from them as well. Playing college golf has also helped me a lot,” said the University of New Mexico senior.
Leading third round scores (Malaysian unless stated):
198 – Gavin Kyle Green (A)67-64-67
207 – Kwanchai Tannin (THA) 74-67-66
208 – Airil Rizman Zahari 68-71-69, Khor Kheng Hwai 68-67-73, Shaaban Hussin 70-63-75
209 – Abel Tam 72-70-67, Nicholas Fung 68-70-71
210 – Rizal Amin 69-72-69
211 – Annop Tangkamolprasert (THA) 69-74-68, Akhmal Tarmizee Nazari 75-69-67, R. Nachimuthu 73-71-67, Wolmer Murillo (VEN) 68-74-69, Grant Jackson (ENG) 68-73-70