Battle-hardened Prayad ready to pounce

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Noda City, Chiba prefecture, Japan, April 22: Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng is ready deliver the knockout punch to his closest rivals after he returned with a four-under-par 67 at the third round of the Panasonic OPEN Japan on Saturday.

Despite trailing Korean leader Junggon Hwang by one shot with his three-day total of nine-under-par 204 at the ¥150 million (approximately US$1.37million) event, the 51-year-old knows he can overcome his one-shot disadvantage with his aggressive style of play.

Junggon HwangPrayad, a multiple winner in Japan, is tied for second together with the Japanese duo of Hiroshi Iwata and Mikumu Horikawa at the Chiba Country Club.

Philippines’ Juvic Pagunsan, who started the day in tied-second place, slipped to a share of seventh place after his erratic form saw him sign for a 71 at the Panasonic OPEN Japan which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO)

The 2011 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion is chasing his first win in Japan, having come close with a third-placed finish last week.

After rounds of 72 and 69, China’s Liang Wen-chong made his move with a 68 that saw him move up to tied-20th place, six shots back of Hwang.

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Hwang has three wins on the Japan Golf Tour and reached a career high of sixth place on the JGTO money list in 2012.

Prayad will hoping for better lighting conditions as the Lasik surgery he underwent to correct his long sightedness affected his vision today.

The Thai veteran said his only bogey on 16 came as a result of his inability to see the ball clearly as the skies became overcast.

Pagunsan made 28 putts for the second consecutive round.

Liang’s hopes of possibly winning a third title in Japan this week were almost over until he carded one birdie and an eagle in his last nine holes during the second round to safely make the cut.

“I’m going to fight. I prefer to be trailing the leader as I can be aggressive, which has always been my style.”- Prayad Marksaeng

Players’ Quotes:

Junggon Hwang (Kor) – Third round 65 (-6), Total 203 (-10)

I made several good putts today. It was a little windy at the start of the round and I had difficulties judging the distance. But it got a lot better in my back-nine as I managed to get five birdies there. I came into the week without much expectations but I’m really feeling very confident after today. But having said that, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself and a top-five or top-10 finish would be my goal.

Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) – Third round 67 (-4), Total 204 (-9)

It’s going to be an interesting battle for me tomorrow. I’m going to fight. I prefer to be trailing the leader as I can be aggressive, which has always been my style. I was playing nicely in my front-nine where I got four birdies but it started to rain when I was playing my back-nine. I made on bogey on 16 and was happy to finish the last two holes with par as the greens were getting hard to read by then.

Juvic PagunsanJuvic Pagunsan (Phi) – Third round 71 (Even), Total 206 (-7)

It was a crazy round today. Whenever I made a birdie, I would give back with a bogey. It was like a rollercoaster. Up and down. I don’t even know the reason why I was playing like that. Hopefully, it will be a steady round tomorrow as I’m just three shots off the lead and I still have a chance.

Liang Wen-chong (Chn) – Third round 68 (-3) Total 209 (-4)

I played steady golf today. I didn’t get off to a good start with an opening 72 and that put some pressure on me for the second round. I was struggling in my front-nine again then but luckily I managed to find some form going into the back-nine. I managed to score well there and eventually made the cut. It’s going to be exciting tomorrow and I will try my best.

Leading Scores after round 3 of the Panasonic Open Golf Championship being played at the par 71, 7130 Yards Chiba CC course (am – denotes amateur):

203 – Junggon HWANG (KOR) 69-69-65.

204 – Mikumu HORIKAWA (JPN) 73-68-63, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 68-69-67, Hiroshi IWATA (JPN) 67-70-67.

205 – Seunghyuk KIM (KOR) 68-70-67, Katsumasa MIYAMOTO (JPN) 69-68-68.

206 – Kyungnam KANG (KOR) 68-71-67, Yoshinori FUJIMOTO (JPN) 70-68-68, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 68-67-71.

207 – Shunsuke SONODA (JPN) 72-70-65, Keiichiro FUKABORI (JPN) 72-69-66, Ryuko TOKIMATSU (JPN) 71-69-67, Arjun ATWAL (IND) 69-69-69, K.T. KIM (KOR) 70-67-70.

208 – Junwon PARK (KOR) 73-68-67, Mingyu CHO (KOR) 71-67-70, Hyungsung KIM (KOR) 67-71-70, Inhoi HUR (KOR) 67-68-73, Jason KNUTZON (USA) 64-69-75.

209 – Yuta IKEDA (JPN) 73-69-67, LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 72-69-68, Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN) 71-70-68, I.J. JANG (KOR) 69-71-69, Shugo IMAHIRA (JPN) 70-70-69, Kenichi KUBOYA (JPN) 69-71-69, Sungjae IM (KOR) 71-68-70, Wonjoon LEE (AUS) 71-67-71, Yujiro OHORI (JPN) 70-65-74, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 67-68-74.

 

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