Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand shot a seven-under-par 65 today to take a share of the lead with Malaysian stalwart Danny Chia in the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s CCM Rahman Putra Championship.
Chia carded bogey-free 66 as the top-two climbed to 14-under 202 for the RM200,000 tournament at Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia.
In third place, and just a single stroke off the lead, was American Brett Munson, who also had six-under 66, while Sutijet Kooratanapisan of Thailand finished fifth on 12-under 204, with overnight leader Quincy Quek fifth and another stroke back on 205. He managed a one-under 71 when collectively the top-three players blitzed Rahman Putra’s Lakes course for 19-under.
Having posted the low round of the day, Phachara said his ability to “keep the ball in the fairway and putt well” was the key to him shooting that 65 and moving into the joint lead with just one day to go in the event that is co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour and carries world ranking points for the top-six.
“I’m happy with how I played today,” he said. “The key thing here on this course is to keep in the fairways and then give yourself chances at birdie, and that is what I was able to do. So, I am happy with how it went today.
But we still have one more round to go and we will see how it unfolds tomorrow.”
Phachara’s short game was on fire as he took aim at almost all the flags, which resulted in him signing for nine birdies in all. He, however, gave two strokes back – a bogey on each nine.
Meanwhile, Chia said he was much more comfortable with his ball-striking today than over the first two days here, and added that he too putted well.
“I did a lot of scrambling over the last two days, but today I hit the ball much more cleaner and had chances to go for birdie, which I converted in most cases,” said the veteran Malaysian player, who added that these PGM and ADT events are part of his preparations for the Asian Tour proper that starts next month.
Indeed, Chia’s round was highlighted by six birdies without blemish and had a run of four-under over five holes, from the 6th to 10th.
Defending champion Munson smiled when it was mentioned to him that this course is somewhat kind to him.
“I would have to agree with you,” he said, when reflecting on his round that featured an eagle, five birdies and a bogey at the 2nd hole.
“But I did play well today. I drove the ball nice off the tee and gave myself several look-ins at birdie, which was very encouraging. But the main thing I think was my putting. I putted well and we all know that if you putt well, you’re most likely to score low.
Today’s proceedings set-up what should be an exciting last round as the leaders and pretenders make a last-ditch dash for the title.
Leading Third Round Scores
202 -14 Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 71-66-65, Danny Chia (Mas) 68-68-66
203 -13 Brett Munson (US) 68-69-66
204 -12 Sutijet Kooratanapisan (Tha) 68-69-67
205 -11 Quincy Quek (Sin) 67-67-71
208 -8 Abel Tam (Mas) 72-67-69, Shane Smith (US) 68-69-71
209 -7 Thammanoon Sriroj (Tha) 68-73-68, Khor Kheng Hwai (Mas) 70-67-72
211 -5 Jinwoo Park (Kor) 75-66-70, Erwan Vieilledent (Fra) 70-71-70, Terumichi Kakazu (Jpn) 72-68-71, Koh Deng Shan (Sin) 73-69-69, Ervin Chang (A) (Mas) 70-69-72, Jordan Sherratt (Aus) 67-72-72, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha) 71-71-69, Casey O’Toole (Us) 69-73-69, Dominic Foos (Ger) 69-68-74