Kitayama holds on to PGM Darulaman Championship lead
Kedah, Malaysia, January 25:American Kurt Kitayama remained atop the leaderboard after signing for a two-under-par 70 to lead by three shots at the halfway stage of the PGM Darulaman Championship on Thursday.
Kitayama, who opened his campaign with a brilliant 63, marked his card with three birdies against a lone bogey to stay in front of the chasing pack with a 11-under-par 133 total at the Darulaman Golf and Country Club.
John Catlin, also of the United States, signed for a second straight 68 to sit in second place while Shinichi Mizuno of Japan and Kwanchai Tannin of Thailand shared third on 139s following identical rounds of 69s.
Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat, Danny Masrin of Indonesia, American Brett Munson and Sweden’s Oscar Zetterwall were amongst those bunched in fifth place on 140 at the RM225,000 (approximately US$55,000) event.
Starting from the 10th hole, Kitayama got off to a good start with a birdie on first. He reeled in 12 straight pars before dropping his first bogey of the week on the par-three fifth. The 25-year-old, however, recovered brilliantly with two straight birdies from seventh.
“My game was kind of up and down today. I started with a birdie but didn’t hit it that great for the rest of my first nine. I was still able to save some pars. I had one bogey on hole five when I blocked it right of the green. I hit a good chip to about seven feet but misread my putt,” said Kitayama, who came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School two weeks ago.
“After that bogey, I just told myself to stay patient as I still have a par-five and some short par-fours coming in. I just wanted to go out there and shoot a good round. It’s hard to back up a great round (opening 63) with another really good round so I just wanted to try and finish the day out with the two birdies,” Kitayama added.
Catlin continued his fine form to return with a round of five birdies against one bogey, keeping up his chase for a third victory on the region’s secondary circuit, which was inaugurated in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour.
“I got off to a pretty good start even though I was worried about starting on the front nine since it’s a little trickier. I birdied two of the difficult par-three holes which is rare so I’m pretty happy with my solid round,” said Catlin.
“It’s nice to know where I stand but I am just going to keep my head down, play one shot at a time and see what happens,” added the 27-year-old Catlin, who enjoyed a third-place finish on the ADT Order of Merit last season.
The halfway cut of the PGM Darulaman Championship was set at two-over-par 146 with a total of 56 players advancing to the final two rounds.
The PGM Darulaman Championship, by featuring on the ADT schedule, will receive official World Golf Ranking status. The winner will receive a minimum of six Official World Golf Ranking points and the top six players and ties will earn points on a sliding scale.
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