Tawit seizes three-shot lead in BHC Brunei Championships

|    Fadhil Yunus & Khairil Hassan     |

THAILAND’S Tawit Polthai seized the lead in the second day of the Butra HeidelbergCement (BHC) Brunei Championships 2019 after firing an impressive six-under par 64 at the Golf Course of The Empire Hotel & Country Club yesterday.

The 25-year-old replaced fellow compatriot Ittiphat Buranatanyarat, who had set the tone at the top on the first day, but is now tied in third place with five other contenders.

Tawit produced his best round in the championship so far having carded a 65 in the first day to keep in firm contention of a sought-after Asian Development Tour (ADT) title in Brunei.

Defending champion Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat was forced to withdraw from the tournament after three holes as a precaution to an ongoing knee injury.

Two-time Asian Tour winner Prom Meesawat, whose accolades makes him an obvious choice as a frontrunner, is among a group of players bunched in third place, five strokes behind the overnight leader.

But the direct challenger to Tawit’s quest of succeeding Kiradech as this year’s champion is the American Austen Truslow who posted the second best result in the second round with a three-under par 67.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Abdul Hakeem in action. – PHOTOS: SHAHIRUDDIN HASSAN
Thai golfer Tawit Polthai tees off in the BHC Brunei Championships 2019

Tawit enjoyed a solid ball-striking day, missing only two greens in regulation in his flawless round highlighted by six birdies.

“My putting was good today and I was striking my irons well. I made 16 greens today and most of my birdie putts were inside 15-feet. I had a good start which boosted my confidence, and I was just having fun and playing my own game all day,” said Tawit who hails from Chantaburi.

Truslow made a slow start after dropping his first shot in hole eight when he missed a five-footer for par, but bounced back with four birdies in the back nine to move into contention.

“I am chipping it well which helped me a lot today because I was able to take advantage of the holes I needed to. I’m pretty happy with my position right now, it’s great to be in contention, it is what all of us play for,” said the American who earned his Tour card at the 2019 Asian Tour Qualifying School.

The halfway cut was set at one-over-par 141 with 50 players advancing to the final two rounds. Local prospect Qawiem Aslimon was the only Bruneian to make the cut following a round of 72.

Meanwhile, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Abdul Hakeem posted a 76 in the second round, an improved score by three shots having carded a 79 in the first day.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.