Rashid, Murthy within five shots off leader Bulloch

Rashid Ismail © Arep Kulal/PGM

Kijal: Md Rashid Ismail and S. Murthy reignited hopes of a domestic victory after carding matching rounds of five-under 66 during the third round of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Terengganu Masters on Wednesday.

The seasoned duo were among a quartet including  Korea’s Kim Gi-whan and Shakhawat Sohel (BAN) on a five-under 208 total, five strokes behind leader Ryan Bulloch of Australia at the seaside Awana Kijal Golf, Beach and Spa Resort.

A round of 68 today saw Bulloch re-took a one-shot advantage over Scotsman Derek McKenzie (69) after a round of er 68 today for a 10-under-par 203 total in RM220,000 (approximately US$70,000) co-sanctioned Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

The former greenskeeper at Perth  is upbeat of securing his first ADT victory despite being in an unfamiliar position where he hast not led going into the final round before. “I need to stay relax like how I’ve been in the last three days. I’m going to calm myself down after this and get some food. I still feel okay now but it is going to be an exciting final round,” said the 34-year-old.

He made the turn on two-under with birdies on holes eight and nine and added another 20-feet birdie putt on the par-four 17th to pull ahead of joint overnight leader McKenzie. “I didn’t hit it quite nicely as I wanted to but there were no bogeys. I just plodded along and I’m glad that I’m still leading after three rounds,” added Bulloch.

Rashid, who has two runner-up finishes at the Impian Classic and A’Famosa Classic this season, hopes to overcome a five-shot deficit in his quest to be the first Malaysian to win on the ADT this year. “My game is in good shape except for my putting but I’ve got some good results this year so it will motivate me to go out and try my best to win this. It won’t be easy but at least I have a chance,” said Rashid.

Despite a majority of players lamenting about the slow green speed, Murthy is hoping that it will play into his advantage.“I had six birdies against a bogey today and my putting is definitely much better this week, so I’m hoping that I can have another good run tomorrow,” added Murthy, who has struggled with his flatstick since his victory at Lanjut Classic last year.

Leading third round scores
203 – Ryan Bulloch (AUS) 64-71-68
204 – Derek Mckenzie (SCO) 69-66-69
208 – Md Rashid Ismail (MAS) 73-69-66, S. Murthy (MAS) 71-71-66, Kim Gi-whan (KOR) 70-70-68, Shakhawat Sohel (BAN) 67-72-69
209 – Lindsay Renolds (CAN) 73-70-66; 210 – R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 76-68-66, Yang Fei-hao (TPE) 71-70-69, Gavin Flint (AUS) 67-73-70