Kang still ahead but lead cut to one at Thailand Open

Bangkok, January 24: Korea’s Kang Wook-soon saw his lead at the Thailand Open cut to one shot after the third round at the Royal Thai Air Force Club today.


The talented Korean, who has led from the first day, carded a fine four-under-par 68 for a three-day total of 16-under-par 200 but his overnight two-shot advantage was cut to one by compatriot Kim Jong-duk, who produced a superb 65.


Kim made the most of golf’s moving day, shooting eight birdies against a long bogey at his first hole, to throw his name into the hat in the US$300,000 event.


The Thai charge remained very much in contention with former Thai Open champion Boonchu Ruangkit, defying his 47 years of age, Thammanoon Srirot and Prayad Marksaeng sharing third place, three shots behind the leader.


Boonchu, who won in 1992, fired a 69 while Thammanoon shot an outstanding 65. Prayad returned a 67.


The story of the day belonged to Taiwan’s Cheng Chun-cheng who fired his second hole in one in the event, and at the same hole, the 187 yard fourth hole. Unfortunately, he did not win any prize as a US$55,000 condominium and a car are on offer at two other par three holes.

Kang is hoping to make amends for missing out on his US PGA Tour card last December by one shot with victory on Sunday. “I was disappointed to miss my card but I reckoned it was time to move on and to concentrate on becoming a better player,” said

Kang, a two-time Asian number one.


A winner of seven titles around the region – his last win at the 2001 Thailand Masters – Kang hopes to finish the job with another steady performance on Sunday. “I am feeling good and I am quite confident. I have won seven times in Asia and a lot in Korea and I have never lost when I have led going into the final round. I want to keep that run going.”


South African Craig Kamps and Australian newcomer Paul Spargo carded rounds of 67 and 68 respectively to lie in tied sixth place on 205, five behind Kang.


After firing a four iron shot that found the bottom of the cup again, Taiwan’s Chen, who shot his first ace during the first round, was delighted with his unique double but yet disappointed not to earn any of the rewards on offer. “No car keys, again,” he said. “Tomorrow I will try to get an ace at the eighth (where the condominium is on offer).”
Yesterday, Korea’s Jun Chul-yoo won a car for holing in one at the 13th hole.


Leading third round scores

200 – Kang Wook-soon (Kor) 63-69-68
201 – Kim Jong-duk (Kor) 69-67-65
203 – Thammanoon Srirot (Tha) 69-69-65, Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) 70-66-67, Boonchu Ruangkit (Tha) 68-66-69
205 – Craig Kamps (RSA) 70-68-67, Paul Spargo (Aus) 67-70-68
206 – Uttam Singh Mundy (Ind) 67-69-70
207 – Mardan Mamat (Sin) 71-67-69, Jim Johnson (USA) 70-67-70, Adam Groom (Aus) 65-72-70
208 – Harmeet Kahlon (Ind) 68-69-71
209 – Chen Chung-cheng (Twn) 71-70-68, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 71-69-69, Chawalit Plaphol (Tha) 70-68-71, Bryan Saltus (USA) 69-68-72, Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) 66-68-75