Kuching, Malaysia - Paul Peterson of the United States posted a bogey-free three-under-par 69 to hold a narrow one-shot lead over countryman John Catlin in the third round of the Sarawak Championship on Friday.
Peterson, who won his first Asian Tour title in January, fired three birdies on his homeward nine to hold on to his lead for the third straight day on 17-under-par 199 at the Damai Golf and Country Club.
" It did take me a while to get hot. The group seems to survive the first few holes. Nobody really did much and John (Catlin) made a couple of putts. I didn’t really feel that the pin positions suited my game with the wind direction. There were a lot of left pins with left to right wind and I tend to draw the ball. I tried to stay as patient as I could and hit the ball to the middle of the green and not try to get greedy. I knew that after the turn I will have more opportunities to score. I expected the front nine to be a bit slower unless I made a putt," said Peterson, looking for second Tour win after claiming his maiden in Myanmar in January.
Catlin kept up his chase for a second Asian Tour title following a 68 while Thailand’s Danthai Boonma (68), who will play in The Open in a fortnight, and Spaniard Javi Colomo (68) are a further shot back in third place.
"I played really good. Everything seems good for me now. My approach shots to the green are really good and I’m giving myself a lot of birdie chances. I don’t want to think about the win yet. I want to stay focus on my game," said Danthai, in search for a tour title after winning the World Classic Championship in Singapore three years ago.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar also charged into contention with a sparkling 66 to share fifth place with Thailand’s Peradol Panyathanasedh (67) on a 202 total at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
Southpaw player Peterson started with nine straight pars before birdies on holes 10, 13 and 16 earned him a slight edge heading into the final 18 holes. The American continued his fine form after dropping only one shot in 54 holes.
The 27-year-old Catlin has unfinished business this week after finishing second on this course on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) last year. The American sank a clutch birdie putt from 18 feet on the 17th hole to stay within striking distance.
Thailand’s Boonma birdied the last two holes to put himself in prime position to end a three-year title drought on the Asian Tour. This will be his final event before he heads to Carnoustie for his Major debut at The Open.
Scores after round 3 of the Sarawak Championship being played at the par 72, 6970 Yards Damai GC course (am - denotes amateur):
199 - Paul PETERSON (USA) 63-67-69.
200 - John CATLIN (USA) 67-65-68.
201 - Danthai BOONMA (THA) 67-66-68, Javi COLOMO (ESP) 66-67-68.
202 - Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 68-68-66, Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 66-69-67.
203 - Mark BROWN (NZL) 65-71-67, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 66-66-71, Kevin LEE (KOR) 67-65-71.
204 - Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 68-67-69.
205 - Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS) 69-69-67, Matt STIEGER (AUS) 71-67-67, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 67-70-68, James MARCHESANI (AUS) 69-68-68, Himmat RAI (IND) 68-67-70."
206 - Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 69-69-68, Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) 68-71-67, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 67-69-70.
207 - Mitchell SLORACH (SIN) 66-73-68, Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 70-69-68, Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA) 69-69-69, Gareth PADDISON (NZL) 68-70-69, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 72-67-68, Sihwan KIM (USA) 67-70-70, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 70-67-70, Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) 71-66-70.