Pijit moves two clear in Kijal

Pijit Petchkasem ©Arep Kulal|PGM
Pijit Petchkasem ©Arep Kulal|PGM

Kemaman [TERENGGANU]: Overnight co-leader Pijit Petchkasem of Thailand produced a solid four-under-par 67 to seize the outright lead at the penultimate round of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Terengganu Championship on Saturday.The talented Thai fired five birdies against one bogey for a three-day total of 12-under-par 201 to lead by two shots over teenage professional Micah Shin of the United States, who carded a 69 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$60,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Shabban Hussin moved within four shots off the lead when he returned with the day’s lowest score of 66 to share third place with one-time ADT winner Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand on matching 205s at the Resorts World Kijal.

Local hope Abel Tam and young Thai Rattanon Wannasrichan signed for 67 and 69 respectively to stay a further one shot back in tied-fifth place at the PGM Terengganu Championship, which is the 12th leg on the ADT schedule this season.

Pijit, who has notched two top-10 finishes on the ADT this season, is brimming with confidence as he put himself in prime position for a maiden win heading into the final round of the PGM Terengganu Championship.

“Like yesterday, my short game was good. My irons were good too and I played really solid today. I’ve been doing quite well since the start of the season and I came close to winning for a couple of times too. I’m pretty confident of winning tomorrow!” said the 27-year-old Thai.

“I’m not too stressed actually. I just want to play my own game tomorrow. I will continue to do what I have been doing for the past three rounds. I will try and enjoy the game and not give myself any pressure. We will see how it goes,” added Pijit.

Shin, who has been plying his trade on the ADT since turning professional last year, admitted he is facing the pressure from playing against the older and more experienced players but claimed it is a good learning curve.

This is the first time the 17-year-old is in contention on the ADT, where he made two halfway cuts in four starts this season.

“Honestly, I do feel pressurized because there are many good and experienced golfers out here but having said that, it is still good to be in contention. I definitely hope to win on the ADT as it will put me closer to playing on the Asian Tour in future, which has been my dream all along,” said the Korean-American.

“It’s my first time leading on the ADT so I will try not to be nervous tomorrow! I am really looking forward to the final round. Hopefully I can finish off well tomorrow,” added the lanky Shin.

Having moved into contention, Shaaban said he needed to just focus on playing one shot at a time tomorrow, as he goes in search for his first win of the season.

“I played some good golf today,” said Shaaban. “I had four birdies over the front nine and two on the back nine. And if it were not for the bogey on the 14th, it would have been an even better round.

“But I am still happy with the way I hit the ball. It was solid and hopefully I can continue with the same tomorrow,” he added.

Leading third round scores (Malaysian unless stated)
201 – Pijit Petchkasem (THA) 69-65-67
203 – Micah Lauren Shin (USA) 64-70-69
205 – Shaaban Hussin 68-71-66, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 65-70-70
206 – Abel Tam 71-68-67, Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 69-68-69
208 – Malcolm Kokocinski (SWE) 70-68-70, Roberto Galletti (USA) 68-70-70, Poosit Supupramai (THA) 66-72-70
209 – Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 70-69-70, Zaw Moe (MYN) 70-67-72
210 – Pasamet Pogamnerd (THA) 68-67-75