Catlin continues Damai Laut stride

John Catlin ©Arep Kulal|PGM Tour

Manjung [PERAK]: American John Catlin edged closer to his maiden Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) victory after signing for a five-under-par 67 to maintain his one-shot lead following the penultimate round of the EurAsia Perak Championship on Friday.

The 26-year-old Catlin traded eight birdies against three bogeys to sit atop the leaderboard with a three-day total of 11-under-par 205 at the Damai Laut Golf and Country Club.

Australian Martin Dive returned with the day’s lowest round of a 66 to take second place while Thailand’s Panuwat Muenlek (70), American pair Josh Salah (69) and Paul Harris (71) shared third on 210 at the RM200,000(approx.US$44,600) event, co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour (ADT).

Catlin, who has notched five top-10 finishes this season on the ADT, took advantage of his hot putter to put himself in prime position for a second victory on the region’s secondary circuit.

“I putted really well. I made a good birdie on hole 14, where I hit my nine-iron to a foot from the hole before tapping it in. I birdied all of the par fives except for hole 18 which was pretty upsetting as I only had a short approach in. I left a few out there and I am hoping I can finish it off tomorrow,” said Catlin.

Dive, playing in his first year in Asia, was thrilled to return with a flawless round highlighted by four birdies in his front nine and a closing eagle on the par-five 18.

“Putting was key for me today, I felt very comfortable around the greens and holed a couple of long putts, including a 50-footer eagle putt on 18, which was a nice way to end a great round,” said 32-year-old Dive.

“It has been a struggle for me the past few months but I can feel everything is starting to click and I am hitting some good shots this week. I have got a way of playing this course and I will stick to that game plan and take it one shot at a time,” added Dive, who won his first ADT event earlier this year.

Salah remained optimistic of putting up a strong final day charge after marking his card with six birdies against a double-bogey and one bogey.

“I was pretty aggressive with my drive on hole nine which ended up out-of-bounds so I had to settle for a double bogey. But I am happy with how I played this course the past three days and I am going to play my own game and see how low I can go tomorrow,” said the 26-year-old Salah.

Leading third round scores (Par-72)
205 – John Catlin (USA) 68-70-67
206 – Martin Dive (AUS) 69-71-66
210 – Josh Salah (USA) 70-71-69 , Panuwat Muenlek (THA) 72-68-70 , Paul Harris (USA) 69-70-71
211 – Jakraphan Premsirigorn (THA) 76-66-69, BRANDON LAU KA KIN 68-71-72
212 – Malcolm Kokocinski (SWE) 73-69-70, KEMAROL BAHARIN 72-67-73