Sungai Petani [KEDAH]: Sukree Othman stood on the brink of his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) breakthrough when he fired a six-under-par 66 to snatch the third round lead at the RM200,000 Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Sime Darby Harvard Championship on Friday.
Overnight leader Arie Irawan slipped one spot down to second after carding a 68 while compatriot Kemarol Baharin signed for the day’s lowest score of 64 to take third place at the ADT season-opening event.
Sukree stumbled early with a bogey on the second hole but picked himself up quickly by firing four birdies, including three consecutive gains from the seventh to turn in 33.
He continued his birdie run with another three birdies on holes 10, 12 and 14 before making pars in his last four holes to sign for a three-day total of 15-under-par 201 at the Harvard Golf and Country Club.
The trio of New Zealand’s Sean Riordan (66), Mathiam Keyser (69) of South Africa and local star Danny Chia (67) remained in contention, three strokes behind the leader on 204.
Sukree , 39, has five wins to his credit on the flourishing domestic circuit and is confident that his good form of late will translate to his first win in over 18 months.
“I played well today and everything I aimed for went in. It was one of those days – a good day – and hopefully I can continue with that tomorrow,” said Sukree, who also led after the halfway stage of the Kinrara Closed Championship last week before finishing in a tie for second.
“The main thing is to give yourself chances at birdie and I managed that today with some good wedges shots into the green. My putting has been really solid over the last couple of weeks, so I’m ripe for a win,” he added.
Arie, who held the lead for the first two days, was pleased with his ability to stay focused as he believes that will ultimately determine the winner this week.
“The guy who’s mentally the toughest will win. I played my best, stayed patient and I’m delighted I managed to keep the bogeys off my card today.
“It’s going to be a tight race to the finishing line tomorrow and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Arie.
Leading third round scores (Malaysian unless stated):
201 – Sukree Othman 70-65-66
202 – Arie Irawan 63-71-68
203 – Kemarol Baharin 70-69-64
204 – Sean Riordan (RSA) 70-68-66, Danny Chia 69-68-67, Mathiam Keyser (RSA) 70-65-69
205 – Steve Han (USA) 71-68-66, Masaru Takahashi(JPN) 69-69-67, Oskar Arvidsson (SWE) 69-66-70
206 – Shaifubari Muda 69-69-68
207 –Terumichi Kakazu (JPN) 66-74-67, Brett Munson (USA) 72-64-71