Thai Pannakorn Turns on the Power

With his latest victory, Pannakorn Uthaipas soared to second place on the ADT’s Order of Merit. Picture by PGM.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Thai Pannakorn Uthaipas clinched his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) title and second win of the season with a three-shot victory at the PGM MIDF ADT Championship.

Pannakorn, the 2017 ADT Order of Merit champion, closed with two straight birdies to sign for a two-under-par 70 and a winning total of 14-under 274 at the Kota Seriemas Golf and Country Club located in Nilai.

Local hopeful Kim Leun-kwang, who shared the third-round lead with Pannakorn, could only muster a 73 to finish on 11-under 277 in a share of second place with compatriot M. Sasidaran and Order of Merit leader Naoki Sekito of Japan.

Thai Chonlatit Chuenboonngam and Justin De Los Santos of the Philippines both carded 71s to finish six shots back in fifth place at the US$54,000 event, the third last stop on the 19-event Tour schedule this season.

“I’m so happy. This is the second time I have won this season (after the PGM Johor ADT Championship), and a third overall on the ADT,” said Pannakorn, who collected the first-prize cheque for US$9,529 to propel him into second spot on the Order of Merit, giving him a mathematical chance to become the first player to top the ADT money list twice.

To do so, Pannakorn must win the remaining two events and hope Sekito, who leads by US$20,000, misses the cut in both tournaments. “Winning the Order of Merit again? Maybe not as Sekito is really too far ahead for me to catch. But if I can win the next tournament, then we’ll see.

“But all that matters to me is to remain in the top seven until the end of the season. Now that I have gone up to second, I think I have a really good chance to secure my Asian Tour card.”

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