Thai teenager Suradit holds advantage at PGM Palm Resort Championship

Suradit Yongcharoenchai Rd 2Johor Bahru: Thai teenager Suradit Yongcharoenchai joined the title race when he fired a stunning eight-under-par 64 in the second round of the PGM Palm Resort Championship which was suspended due to thunderstorms on Thursday.

The 17-year-old Suradit set the clubhouse target on 10-under-par 134 before play was stopped at 2.38pm at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club due to heavy shower and lightning activity in the area.

More than half the field will return on Friday at 7.30am to complete their rounds at the PGM Palm Resort Championship.

Thai duo Donlaphatchai Niyomchon and Panuwat Muenlek were a further shot back after shooting matching 67s at the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Pavit Tangkamolprasert, the current ADT Order of Merit leader, stayed in the hunt for a second ADT win in April after shooting a 68 to share fourth place with Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan on a 136 total.

Suradit, who turned professional six months ago, fired seven birdies and one eagle to put himself in a good position to become the second youngest ADT champion after countryman Phachara Khongwatmai, who won last year at the age of 15.

The talented Thai turned in 30 highlighted by an eagle-three on the 16th hole where he hit an accurate rescue from 240 yards to five foot. He dropped his only shot on hole one but recovered nicely when he closed with three straight birdies.

With an eye on the prize, Suradit hopes to continue his hot putting streak where he needed only 26 putts today. “My putting was very good, in fact everything was good. It is my first year on the ADT and I like playing in these tournaments.”

“My goal is to finish top-five on the Order of Merit and to do that, I need to win. We have a long way more to go because today’s afternoon session has not finished yet but today’s score gives me a good chance in the last two days,” said Suradit.

Koh, the only non-Thai player in the top-five, sank a huge 40-foot eagle on the third hole and added three birdies against two bogeys for a round of 69. He finished tied second in the Philippines two weeks ago and hopes to go one spot higher this week.

“There are a lot of scoring opportunities out there. I’ve focussed the last three weeks and I’ve been playing well. I’m feeling confident this week and I hope to continue the momentum,” said Koh.

The ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as the gateway to the premier Asian Tour, will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2017.

Like all other ADT events, the PGM Palm Resort Championship will offer OWGR points, which will be key for players vying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August.

Leading round 2 scores:

134 Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 70-64

135 Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 68-67, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 68-67

136 Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 68-68, KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 67-69

137 Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 69-68, Mohd Iylia JAMIL (MAS) 67-70

138 Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 69-69