Thailand bothers Donlaphatchai and Natthapong Niyomchon blazed a hot trail in the second round of the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour’s RM180,000 Impian Championship today.
Donlaphatchai fired a fine seven-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead into the next round with a 10-under-par 134 total, ahead of Malaysia’s Kemarol Baharin, who carded a 69 and fellow Thai Sutiyet Kooratanapisan (67). They finished on eight-under 136.
Natthapong, meanwhile, shot an eight-under 64 – just two shots off Rashid Ismail’s course record at Impian Golf & Country Club in Kajang.
The 26-year-old, who has two wins in Thailand but still seeking a first victory here in Malaysia, was joint fourth on seven-under-par 137, alongside compatriots Smithti Teeratrakul (69) and Settee Prakongvech, who also had a 65, and Indonesia’s William Sjaichudin (69).
Pleased with his showing today Natthapong said he was happy to play himself into contention and with his ability to stay focused in the heat of the battle.
“The competition is very tough in these events as there are many good players. So for me to a low score today and get myself among the leaders is good,” he added.
Turning to his game, Natthapong said his putting was what made the difference and hoped to continue with it through the next two days.
“I putted very well today,” he said. “I played some iron shots and I drove the ball well off the tee box, but my putting was what was really good – so I am very happy at the moment.”
Natthapong had nine birdies in his round – three over the front nine and six on the homeward stretch, including a run of four-on-the-trot from hole No. 12. His only blemish was a bogey four at the par-3 7th hole.
Another player who left the course a happy man was Malaysia’s Shah Irwan Rusli. The 37-year-old amateur, who did not make the cut after an 82, struck the perfect shot at the 174-yard par-3 12th.
“That is my second hole-in-one,” he declared after his round. “And although I didn’t make the cut, I am still very, very happy.”
He used a 7-iron that went left, before the ball kicked right and rolled into the cup for the ace.
Leading Second Round Scores
134 Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (Tha) 69-65
136 Kemarol Baharin (Mas) 65-69, Sutijet Kooratanapisan (Tha) 69-67
137 Natthapong Niyomchon (Tha) 73-64, Smithti Teeratrakul (Tha) 68-69, Settee Prakongvech (Tha) 72-65, William Sjaichudin (Ina) 67-69
138 Akhmal Tarmizee (Mas) 69-69, R Nachimuthu (Mas) 72-66
139 Nicholas Fung (Mas) 70-69, Supravee Phatam (Tha) 69-70.