Arie Irawan maintained his overnight four-stroke lead in the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s season-ending RM350,000 Maybank Players’ Championship at Impian Golf & Country Club in Kajang today.
The 24-year-old, seeking a breakthrough win on the Tour and who now finds himself with a good chance achieving it – with just one round to go, carded third day one-under-par 71. That effort lifted him to an 11-under 205 total – four shots ahead of a trio who have multiple wins amongst them – Ben Leong (68), Sukree Othman (68) and R. Nachimuthu (70).
Looking back on what was a shaking opening nine, Arie said: “I had a rough time at the start but steadied the ship on the back nine with a few birdies.”
Indeed, the player who has quietly moved into second place on the list for Malaysian in the world rankings, had three bogeys over the first eight holes, before recovering a shot at the 9th with a deserved birdie. He also birdie at the 14th before closing out the round with two more birdies at the last two holes.
“I think it was important I finished the round by birdieing the 17th and 18th holes,” said Arie. “And while I started poorly, I found my rhythm towards the end and it made me settle into a comfortable frame of mind.
“My aim now will obviously be to play steady golf tomorrow and keep it in the fairways. I know there are a few good players, who have won before, in the chasing pack and I will need to be at my best if I’m going to pull it off – which is my aim,” added Arie.
Akhmal Tarmizee carded the low round of the day – a 67 – and was tied with Airil Rizman (72) and Kemarol Baharin (73) on five-under 211.
Speaking after he moved into a position with an outside chance of sneaking in from the back to claim the title, Akhmal said: “Everything I did today worked out well.
“I hit the ball solid and my short irons were very good, which gave me chances at birdie.
In fact, I hit 16 greens in regulation and maybe should have done even better than this,” added the player who won this tournament two years ago.
“Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow and move even further up the leaderboard.”
Zen Dharmaratne (70), Wilson Choo (71) and Mohamad Azman Basharudin (72) were joint eighth on four-under 212, while young Abel Tam’s even-par 72 left him in sole possession of ninth spot, a shot further back on 213.
Kim Leun Kwang hit a perfect shot on the 184-yard par-3 16th hole, using a 7-iron. His tee shot landed two feet before the cup and rolled in for the ace. He finished the day in a tie for 26th on 221 after a four-over 76.
Leading Third Round Scores
205 -11 Arie Irawan 64-70-71
209 -7 Ben Leong 72-69-68, Sukree Othman 70-71-68, R. Nachimuthu 67-72-70
211 -5 Akhmal Tarmizee 72-72-67, Airil Rizman 69-70-72, Kemarol Baharin 73-65-73
212 -4 Zen Dharmaratne 70-72-70, Wilson Choo 70-71-71, Mohamad Azman Basharudin 72-68-72
213 -3 Abel Tam 71-70-72
215 -1 Md Rashid Ismail 70-75-70, Khor Kheng Hwai 76-68-71, Shaaban Hussin 72-72-71, Dino Abdillah 71-71-73, Lim Eng Seng 74-67-74