Pattaya, Thailand, December 30: Prom Meesawat of Thailand broke out of the main pack after carding a five-under-par 66 to lead the US$500,000 Royal Cup by two shots. The tournament was contested at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
The burley Thai golfer kept his mistakes to a minimum and scored six birdies. He only had one bogey the entire round at the 15th, but it could have been much worse if not for a terrific bunker shot that landed five yards from the hole.
Shiv Kapur of India carded a birdie at the 18th to keep things interesting going into Sunday. Kapur, who was playing with Prom in the same group, kept within sight of the leader with pivotal birdies at the 12th in addition to the one at the last hole. Kapur finished Saturday with a total of 10-under-par 203, just two shots behind Prom.
Young Thai golfer Poom Saksansin was happy about his round and rightly so. He kept pace with the front two with a steady display, highlighted by four birdies and just one bogey. He finished round three with a 68 for a share of third place with Gaganjeet Bhullar.
Bhullar, on the other hand, had a rather dramatic round three. He made six birdies, but it was slightly negated by two bogeys and an uncharacteristic double bogey at the par-four ninth. After a magnificent start, the Indian golfer ground out his round towards the last few holes and signed for a 69.
The Royal Cup is a no cut event and it will be the final event on the 2017 Asian Tour schedule.
Did you know:
- Prom Meesawat’s nickname is “The Big Dolphin”, because of his physique and that he comes from the coastal town of Huahin.
- He earned US$134,192 on the Asian Tour this year, which put him in 30th position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
- His favourite female golf professional is Paula Creamer.
- Shiv Kapur’s solid season has been a huge turnaround for him after going through a tough year in 2016 where he lost his European Tour card and had to go through a liver surgery which kept him out of the game for a few months.
- Kapur’s first victory on the Asian Tour was in Thailand.
- Kapur got married in 2016, in Bali.
- Poom Saksansin finished eighth on the 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit. He earned US$331,417 this year.
- Poom qualified for the chance to represent Asia at the EurAsia Cup by virtue of being one of the four leading Asian Golfers on the Order of Merit.
- Gaganjeet Bhullar enjoyed a tied-second finish the last time he was in Thailand, at the Thailand Open.
- He earned US$253,803 and finished 15th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Prom Meesawat (Tha) – Third Round 66 (-5), Total 201 (-12)
I was playing my own game and Shiv (Kapur) was playing his own game. We have known each other for a long time. Shiv was playing well and didn’t make many mistakes. Even myself, I’m playing well too. I hope that it’ll be good fun tomorrow.
Especially this week, I’m hitting my irons pretty good. I was able to control the distance well. As I’ve mentioned, you’ve got to stay pin high at this course. The greens are typically soft on the front nine and hard at the back nine.
I had two tough shots. At the 13th (where he scored a birdie), I had to hit it high from the rough so that the ball can stop on the green. That one worked out well. At the 15th, I left about four to five yards short of the hole from the bunker.
I’m going to stick with my game plan tomorrow. I’ll go shot by shot. Shiv is playing well, I’m playing well. I’ll just go out and enjoy. Having a two-shot advantage is nothing in golf these days. I’m just going to try my best to win.
Shiv Kapur (Ind) – Third Round 68 (-3), Total 203 (-10)
I played great today. He (Prom) didn’t make many mistakes. He left the door opened once or twice, but I didn’t capitalise on it. Every time I made a birdie, he seemed to make a birdie as well. He played a solid back nine and he seemed to pull away a bit.
I told my caddie at the 18th tee, if I can birdie the last and close the gap to two shots, that can give me a better chance for a win. It’s a big difference between being two shots back and three shots back. The birdie on 12th was the turning point of my round today. If I missed and he made the birdie, as it would widen the gap.
I’m not trying to get into a match play situation. Perhaps, if it’s the last few holes tomorrow and it’s a similar situation as today then maybe, you can look at that.
I’ve known Prom since the junior days and I’ve played with him in the last 15 to 20 years. I have a lot of respect for his game. He’s a fantastic player and he’s not going to hand me the tournament. I’m going to have to go out and work hard for it. With a birdie at the last hole, I have a better chance.
It’ll be a fun battle if I can score some birdies on the front nine and put some pressure on him.
Poom Saksansin (Tha) – Third Round 68 (-3), Total 207 (-6)
Today I had a mistake, but it was a good mistake. I tried to lay up at the fifth hole, but it hooked to the pin and I made a birdie there.
Another good hole was the 10th. I had a good birdie chance, but I missed it. It was simply too difficult. The green was quite sloppy and I didn’t give it enough allowance.
Overall, I’m happy because I played well today. The weather is hot today, but in a good way. The winds are strong and the back nine is firmer than the front nine. The pins are still as tough as ever, but I am looking forward to the challenge.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) – Third Round 69 (-2), Total 207 (-6)
It was a bit of a yo-yo round and there were lots of ups and downs during the day.
I did make six birdies today, but I’ve also made some bad shots which led to bogeys. But otherwise, I drove the ball well like I did the last two rounds, kept the ball in play at pretty much all the holes and I gave myself plenty of birdie opportunities. I made some par saves at the end but otherwise, it was a decent round.
I started the round pretty well with two consecutive birdies. The other highlight was my second shot on the eighth. I was 92 yards from the stick. I took a sand wedge, hit the ball from the rough and it went in.
I’m looking forward to having a good low round on Sunday.
Scores after round 3 of the Royal Cup being played at the par 71, 6764 Yards Phoenix Gold GCC course (am – denotes amateur):
201 – Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 68-67-66.
203 – Shiv KAPUR (IND) 67-68-68.
207 – Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 68-71-68, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 67-71-69.
208 – Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 69-70-69, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 68-70-70, Raththee SIRITHANAKUNSAK (THA) 67-71-70, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 68-69-71.
209 – Ben LEONG (MAS) 70-68-71, Khalin JOSHI (IND) 70-68-71.
210 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 68-75-67, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 73-69-68, Poosit SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 69-72-69, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 72-67-71.
211 – Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 71-71-69, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 75-67-69, Pasavee LERTVILAI (THA) 70-72-69, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 70-71-70, John CATLIN (USA) 69-72-70, Ratchapol JANTAVARA (THA) 72-69-70, Thanpisit OMSIN (THA) 70-69-72.
212 – Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) 73-70-69, Thammanoon SRIROJ (THA) 73-71-68, Nattawat SUVAJANAKORN (THA) 70-71-71, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 70-70-72, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 67-73-72.
213 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 72-71-70, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 67-74-72, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 70-71-72, Suttijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 71-70-72.
214 – Jakraphan PREMSIRIGORN (THA) 72-72-70, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 73-70-71, Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 69-75-70, Chaiphat KOONMARK (THA) 71-71-72, Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 73-72-69, Chanachok DEJPIRATANAMONGKOL (THA) 72-73-69, WANG Wei-lun (TPE) 76-69-69.
215 – Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 70-73-72, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 69-75-71, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 72-71-72, Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA) 73-72-70, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 69-73-73, Tawan PHONGPHUN (THA) 72-74-69.
216 – Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 72-70-74, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 70-78-68, Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 69-72-75, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 71-68-77.
217 – Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 73-72-72, Somprad RATTANASUWAN (THA) 71-71-75, Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA) 73-73-71.
218 – Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 69-75-74, Giwhan KIM (KOR) 75-70-73, Boonchu RUANGKIT (THA) 73-72-73, Chirat JIRASUWAN (THA) 70-75-73, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 74-76-68.
219 – Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 73-67-79, Thepbodin AMARANAN (THA) 73-75-71.
220 – Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA) 70-73-77, Worrasorn SUWANPANANG (THA) 73-73-74, Tawit POLTHAI (THA) 75-74-71.
221 – Chonlatit CHUENBOONNGAM (THA) 75-75-71.
222 – Meechok PHANTHARAK (THA) 74-70-78, Somsak KAOPRATUM (THA) 70-78-74, Scott HEND (AUS) 71-77-74.
223 – Kwanchai TANNIN (THA) 71-79-73.
224 – Kasidit LEPKURTE (THA) 75-77-72, Ronnachai JAMNONG (THA) 78-76-70.
225 – Naras LUANGPHETCHARAPORN (THA) 77-70-78, Nattapong PUTTA (THA) 74-76-75, Natthapong NIYOMCHON (THA) 77-76-72.
227 – Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 73-73-81, Udorn DUANGDECHA (THA) 79-72-76.
232 – Jaturon DUANGPHAICHOOM (THA) 75-86-71.
253 – Jomyoot GEETONG (THA) 86-83-84.
257 – Pattalit THANOMSING (THA) 80-89-88.
Jbe KRUGER, South Africa – DQ
Nicholas FUNG, Malaysia – RT
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