Takahashi recaptures lead at PGM MIDF KLGCC Masters

Kuala Lumpur: Japan’s Masaru Takahashi charged into the third round lead of the PGM MIDF KLGCC Masters after shooting a three-under-par 68 on Saturday.

Takahashi, who shared the first round lead, compiled a three day total of nine-under-par 204 for a one-shot lead over local hope Shaaban Hussin at the RM200,000 (approximately US$65,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Malaysia’s top-ranked golfer, Nicholas Fung and overnight leader Niall Turner of Ireland signed for 67 and 72 respectively to share third place on 207 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s East course.

Chinese Taipei’s Lee Shih-hung, Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan and local prospect R. Nachimuthu shared fifth after returning with rounds of 67, 69 and 73 respectively at the penultimate tournament of the 2013 ADT season.

Takahashi stayed on course to win his maiden ADT title after trading five birdies against two bogeys but is aware of the strong challenges from the local prospects including Shaaban and Fung.

“I putted really well. I’m glad to be on top of the leaderboard again. I just hope I can hit any many fairways as possible tomorrow and play steady. I just want to enjoy myself out there and we’ll see how it goes,” said the 27-year-old Japanese.

The talented Shaaban reckons that he needs to remain patient to give himself a chance at winning the title.

“I’m playing a lot better this week. I just need to focus more tomorrow. I’ll try not to push myself too much trying to make birdies. I’ll just stick to the same game plan and stay focused. Hopefully, I can see better results tomorrow,” said the 33-year-old Shaaban.

Fung, currently second on the ADT Order of Merit, is looking forward to the final showdown as he bids for a second ADT victory this season.

“My putting is getting better this week and it really helped me a lot. I was lucky to make an eagle on the eighth today. If I can maintain my form tomorrow, I think I have a good chance of winning. I just need to put my ball in play,” said the 23-year-old Sabahan.

The top three players at the end of the season will earn Asian Tour cards for 2014.

All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points starting this year. Winners on the ADT will receive a minimum of six world ranking points while the top six players and ties will earn points based on a sliding scale.

The ADT was launched in 2010 with five tournaments before growing to eight in 2011 and 13 last year. It has proven to be a successful platform for upcoming players to gain entry into the region’s premier Tour, which is celebrating its milestone 10th season in 2013.

The PGM MIDF KLGCC Masters is co-sanctioned by the ADT and PGM Tour. It is the 15th and penultimate leg of the season, with details of the season-ending tournament to be announced in due course.