Joohyung Kim of Korea

Joohyung Kim of Korea

Korea’s Joohyung Kim opened up a commanding 11-shot lead after posting a solid four-under-par 68 in the penultimate round of the US$80,000 Raya Pakistan Open on Saturday.

Kim, who did not manage to complete his second round on Friday due to weather delays, returned to complete his remaining 10 holes and sign for a low round 64 to seize the outright halfway lead by four at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club.

The 17-year-old prodigy continued to pull away from his closest rivals when he traded six birdies against two bogeys for a three-day total of 18-under-par 198, putting himself in pole position for an all-important third victory on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this season.

A third win this season will help him gain immediate playing rights on the Asian Tour for the remainder of the 2019 season. Only Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang and Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand have achieved the feat when they won three times in a single season on the ADT in 2014.

Singapore’s Choo Tze Huang battled to a 69 to take second place while Pakistan’s Muhammad Munir sits a further three shots back in third following a 71.

Kim, who had emerged victorious in Malaysia and Indonesia earlier this season, just wanted to get enough rest after playing 28 holes on Saturday.

“I am tired but I will make sure I rest well ahead of the final round on Sunday. I was just tagging along on the first nine holes (third round) and trying to stay in the moment. Thankfully I got a big momentum going after that,” said Kim, the ADT Order of Merit leader.

“I’ve put myself in a good position for the final round, but I still need a low score tomorrow,” he added.

Kim took a while to get going with two bogeys in the sixth and ninth hole. But he went on a good run after the turn with four birdies, including three in the final four holes.

Leading third round scores

198 – Joohyung Kim 66-64-68 (KOR)

209 – Choo Tze Huang 70-70-69 (SGP)

212 – Muhammad Munir 69-72-71 (PAK)

213 – Samuel Cyr 72-71-70 (USA), Muhammad Shabbir 71-71-71 (PAK), Sam Lee (FIJ) 71-70-72

214 – Sam Gillis 69-75-70 (USA), Mitchell Slorach 71-70-73 (SGP)

215 – Matt Killen 71-70-74 (ENG)

216 – Muhammad Alam 72-72-72, Oscar Zetterwall 68-74-74 (SWE)