Sarawak Championship

KUCHING, Sarawak: Thai rising star Jazz Janewattananond put himself in prime position for a fifth Asian Tour win after posting a solid eight-under-par 64 to grab a one-shot advantage at the halfway stage of the Sarawak Championship on Friday.

The 23-year-old Jazz, who has already won twice this season, sparkled with a flawless round highlighted by eight birdies to sit atop the leaderboard with a 15-under-par 129 total at the Damai Golf and Country Club.

Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, who played alongside Jazz, also kept the blemishes off his card as he signed for a second straight 65 to share second place with Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao (66) and Australian Andrew Dodt (64) in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.

Dodt, a two-time Asian Tour winner, got off to a sizzling start with an eagle on the 10th hole followed by four successive birdies from 11 before turning in 30. The 33-year-old Australian is playing in his first event since suffering a two-month injury layoff in April.

Thai trio Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Danthai Boonma and Sadom Kaewkanjana shared fifth place on matching 133s following respective rounds of 65, 66 and 67 at the full-field event, which is celebrating its second edition on the Asian Tour this week.

The halfway cut was set at four-under-par 140 with a total of 72 players progressing into the weekend rounds.

The Sarawak Championship is supported by the Sarawak State government. It is also the Tour’s second stop in Malaysia this season.

Did you know?

– Jazz Janewattananond hit 18/18 greens in regulation en route to his round of 64.

– His two-day total of 15-under-par 129 is one shot better than the 36-hole score recorded in the inaugural edition of the Sarawak Championship last year.

– The 23-year-old Jazz is bidding for a fifth Asian Tour title and a third one this season to give himself a chance of automatically qualifying for the International Team, led by Captain Ernie Els, for the Presidents Cup.

– Currently placed 10th on the International Team standings, Jazz needs to move inside the top-eight on the rankings when the Sarawak championship concludes on Sunday. A victory at the Sarawak Championship will likely seal his move there along with an automatic spot for the match-play event which will be held in Melbourne at the end of the year.

– Sitting in 56th position on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), Jazz is the highest-ranked player in the 156-man field. He is also the highest-ranked Thai player in the world.

– Jazz came in joint runner-up at the Sarawak Championship last year after firing a birdie and an eagle in his closing three holes for a solid eight-under-par 64. Ended his campaign one shot shy of winner John Catlin of the United States.

– Hung Chien-yao of Chinese Taipei broke his personal 36-hole record after carding rounds of 64 and 66 to cap a two-day total of 14-under-par 130.

– He has missed two cuts in six starts so far this season. His best result is a tied-34th place finish at the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open and he sits in 64th place on the current Order of Merit.

– The 27-year-old Hung finished tied-20th at the Sarawak Championship last year.

– Hung has yet to win on the Asian Tour but has one Asian Development Tour (ADT) title which he won on home soil in 2013.

– Hung won the TPGA Championship on his local circuit for the third consecutive year last month.
Andrew Dodt is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He won the 2010 Avantha Masters and the True Thailand Classic in 2015.

– He endured a two-month injury layoff starting from April due to a bulging disc in his back which was stemmed from his gym session in Morocco after a long-haul flight from Sydney.

– Dodt is playing in his fourth start on the Asian Tour in 2019. He sits in 59th place on the Order of Merit and will be focusing on the Asian Tour for the remainder of the season as he wants to retain his card for next year.