Photo - Asian Tour
THAWORN SET FOR FINAL ASSAULT AT INAUGURAL YEANGDER TPC
Taipei: Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant believes that he is ready to launch his final assault on the inaugural Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) title after carding a two-under-par 70 to take the third round lead on Saturday.
The 11-time Asian Tour winner fended off the challenges of compatriot Chinnarat Phadungsil by one shot to head into the final round of the US$300,000 full field Asian Tour event with a three-day total of 10-under-par 206.
Chinnarat returned with the day’s best score of 67 to take second place on 207 with Malaysia’s Iain Steel a further shot back in third after the Malaysian added a 71 to his previous rounds of 68 and 69.
American rookie Ben Fox together with Australia’s David Gleeson took a share of fourth place on matching 209s
Thaworn who teed off in the front-nine pared his opening three holes before successive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes got him to 10-under after five holes.
The Thai then dropped his only shot of the day at the par-four 12th before responding with another birdie in his closing 18th hole at the Linkou International Golf Club.
“A two-under-par score is a good result for me today as the wind conditions were really strong out there. I hope it does not get any worse tomorrow,” said Thaworn of the impending typhoon Fanapi expected to hit Taipei on Sunday.
“I played well given the conditions but the most important thing for me tomorrow is to continue to stay focus and play the way I’ve been playing the last three days,” added the Thai who is also chasing a record-equalling 12th Asian Tour title which will match compatriot and reigning Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee’s number of wins on the Tour.
Chinnarat who started the day tied for seventh, credited his accurate driving for moving him up the leaderboard quickly into second place.
“I managed to hit many good tee shots today. My second shots were not very good as they went all over the fairways but I was able to hole my putts,” said the 21-year-old who marked his card with six birdies and one bogey on the par-four ninth.
“My driving was the key to my good play today as we’ve got to play it really accurate off the tee in this golf course,” added the Thai.
Playing alongside Thaworn, Steel opened with a birdie but dropped a shot in his second hole. A birdie on the par-three fifth brought him back to one-under before making pars on every hole to reach the turn in 35.
The 39-year-old then birdied the 10th hole to move within one shot of Thaworn who could only par his hole. However two bogeys on the 15th and 16th derailed his chances of moving further ahead on the leaderboard.
Steel recovered well with an all-important birdie on the closing par-five 18th to eventually sign for a 71 and a place in the final group on Sunday.
“Every shot counts but looking at the scores today I should be in the last group. You want to see how the leaders are doing and try to keep up so it’s always good to play in the last group,” said the Malaysian who is searching for his maiden win on the Asian Tour this week.
“The wind made it very tricky today. The first two days were nice and calm and quite straightforward but it was difficult today,” added Steel.