Late charge puts Chia on pole

Danny Chia

Jawi [PENANG]: Malaysian ace Danny Chia stayed on track to a successful title defence when he fired a seven-under-par 65 to grab the third round lead at the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Bukit Jawi Championship on Friday.

Chia, a three-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), birdied three of his closing four holes to lead on 13-under-par 203 at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort.

Overnight leader Gavin Green (70), who is searching for a third ADT title this year which will automatically afford him with playing rights on the 2016 Asian Tour Schedule, was a further shot back in second place alongside Johannes Veerman (66) of the United States.

Ben Leong of Malaysia posted a 70 to occupy fourth place on 206 while Josh Salah of the United States sits in fifth position, four shots off the pace.

Chia put himself in prime position to retain his title at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,000) event after trading eight birdies against one bogey. He dominated the event last year when he cruised to a six-shot victory thanks to a final round 65.

“I played nicely to take the lead and I’m quite proud with how I played today. I’ve been travelling a lot lately and last week I felt some stiffness in my neck. I’ve been taking it easy so it is nice to be contending again,” said Chia.

“I won last year so this is a golf course which suits my eye. I remembered I shot a low round on the last day so it will be great to do the same tomorrow!” he added.

Chia hopes to erase his defeat at the PGM Palm Resort Championship two weeks ago where he was defeated by Thailand’s Sutijet Kooratanapisan who edged the Malaysian by one-shot after firing a sublime 60 on the last day.

“Two weeks ago, I lost to a player who shot a 60 so it shows how much talent we have on the ADT. It is still an open race to the title so I’ll focus on my game,” said the eight-time PGM Tour winner.

Leading third round scores (Par-72) >
Malaysian unless stated
203 – Danny Chia 71-67-65
204 – Johannes Veerman (USA) 68-70-66, Gavin Kyle Green 67-67-70
206 – Ben Leong 67-69-70
207 – Josh Salah (USA) 67-74-66
208 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 67-72-69, Mathiam Keyser (RSA) 74-67-67
209 – Baxter Reeves (USA) 71-67-71, Low Khai Jei 67-70-72
210 – Johnson Poh (SIN) 72-70-68, Lexus Keoninh (USA) 69-73-68