In another tropical day at Laguna Golf Phuket, Korean amateur Dongmin Kim shot a 3-under 67 to move to 12-under and extend his lead to two strokes over America’s Alex Kang heading into the final round of the PGA TOUR Series-China’s third and final Global Qualifying Tournament.
Kang, the older brother of LPGA major champion Danielle Kang, shot 68 to place second, one ahead of compatriot Jared Howard (66), Japan’s Narutoshi Yamaoka (67) and Canada’s Stuart Macdonald (69), who played with Kang on the 2018 Web.com Tour.
Kim previously played on the Korean national team, a teammate with last week’s Global Qualifying Tournament winner Taeho Kim (no relation), and Dongmin Kim is looking to follow his friend’s lead and secure the only full card available this week for the 14-event regular season.
Bogey-free through 15 holes, Kim was 5-under and leading by four strokes before a costly double bogey on 16 dropped his lead to only two shots. Kim and Kang will play together for a fourth consecutive day, during Friday’s final round.
“I know Kang is a good player but all I can do is focus on myself and try to play my own game,” said Kim. “I’m excited to see what happens, and hopefully I can keep playing well and win this week. It would be a great boost for me.”
Kang still holds the PGA TOUR Series-China’s all-time 72-hole scoring record and is looking to earn full playing rights this week and emulate his 2016 season, where he finished third on the Tour’s Order of Merit, before playing on the Web.com Tour for two years, in 2017 and 2018.
Kang was slightly disappointed to card a 68 after an impressive, second-round 61. The 28-year-old is still optimistic he can overtake Kim in the final round.
“I didn’t capitalize on the par-5s and the drivable par-4s. It was a little tougher and windier, so I didn’t really have my momentum today like yesterday,” said Kang, who is eyeing the win. “Of course I think I can still catch him. I’m only two back, so let’s see.”
Japan’s Raiki Okamoto shot 65 to take solo sixth at 8-under, one ahead of America’s Henry Westmoreland IV (67). Two Americans Eric Beringer (70) and Nick Latimer (69) are tied for eighth at 5-under.
Bhurinat Songpaiboon (70) is the leading Thailand player, currently in a tie for 10th with England’s Mitchel Sarling (66) and America’s Dylan Healey (66).
Only the medalist this week will earn full status for the 14-event Tour season, while finishers 2-12 will earn status through the first six events. Finishers 13-35 (and ties) will be conditionally exempt through the first six events.