It's a sprint now for Kiradech

Sat 23 Mar 2013

It's a sprint now for Kiradech

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Kuala Lumpur, March 23: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat held a one-shot advantage on Saturday over former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel at the Maybank Malaysian Open which has been reduced to a 54-hole contest.
Organisers were forced to cut short the US$2.75 million championship sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour after thunderstorms disrupted play for the third successive day, with Kiradech holding the lead on 11-under-par through two holes.
The third and final round will resume on Sunday, 9.45am at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. The last time the Maybank Malaysian Open was reduced into a three-round affair was at the same venue in 2006.
Schwartzel, playing in the last group with Kiradech, trails by one while a group of seven players, who include China’s Wu Ashun, three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari and Anders Hansen, are a further shot back on nine-under.
Big-hitting Kiradech, dubbed Asia’s John Daly, is determined to close out the Maybank Malaysian Open after coming close three years ago when he entered the final round as the co-leader only to finish joint third.
“I’ve learned a lot from that. I’ve grown up in three years and I have learned a lot on how to play under pressure and how to play when you need to win. I think I have more experience and I hope it will help me tomorrow,” said the 23-year-old former world amateur champion.
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Kiradech returned this morning to complete his second round with a 68 which gave him a two-shot lead. He birdied the first hole of the third round but bogeyed the second before play was called off at 4.02pm when the heavens opened up.
With 16 holes separating him from a second Asian Tour title, the burly Thai, who has been suffering from the effects a lingering thyroid problem, knows he holds an advantage although he expects Schwartzel to mount a big charge on Sunday.
“I feel better. You can say I have more chance to win now that it’s 54 holes. It’s a good chance for me to win my first co-sanctioned title. I still have to do my best and it’ll be tough work tomorrow. Charl is a good player. He’s a top player and he can catch up. I will just do my best. If I can keep playing like how I have been doing in the first two days, I will have a chance,” said Kiradech, who finished fourth in last week’s Avantha Masters in India and also qualified for the British Open last month.
Schwartzel, who won the Thailand Golf Championship in December and has eight European Tour titles under his belt, birdied his opening hole of the third round to signal his intent of winning his first Maybank Malaysian Open title. He also wants to keep the title in South Africa’s hands following last year’s triumph by close friend Louis Oosthuizen.
The 27-year-old Wu, bidding to become the third Chinese to win a co-sanctioned tournament after Zhang Lian-wei and Liang Wen-chong, parred his first two holes of the third round to stay two shots back of Kiradech.
“I think I still have a good chance. I’m in the championship group and the leaderboard is very tight. It is three rounds now so anything can happen. I have to go back and sleep! Hopefully I get enough rest and play well,” said Wu, who became the first Chinese to win in Japan last season.
“I have to pray hard … My game is in very good shape and I feel confident. Everything is good. I’m just happy to be in this tournament. Any finish is good for me. I don’t want to think about winning yet. I just want to stay happy,” added the smiling Chinese, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation.
India’s Jeev Milkha Singh made a charge up the leaderboard by playing his 11 holes in five under and moving up to eight-under for the championship.
S. Murthy, one of three Malaysians to make the halfway cut, stands at six-under through four holes of his third and final round with 19-year-old amateur Gavin Green a further shot back where he is two under for his round through 10 holes.
Leading third and final round scores
-11: Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) through 2 holes
-10: Charl SCHWARTZEL (RSA) through 2 holes
-9: Anders HANSEN (DEN) through 8 holes, Edoardo MOLINARI (ITA) through 5 holes, Padraig HARRINGTON (IRL) through 4 holes, Victor DUBUISSON through 4 holes, Gregory BOURDY (FRA) through 3 holes, WU Ashun (CHN) through 2 holes
-8: Jeev Milkha SINGH(IND) through 11 holes, Peter LAWRIE (IRL) through 6 holes, Jean GONNET (FRA) through 10 holes, Alastair FORSYTH (SCO) through 8 holes, Rafa CABRERA-BELLO (ESP) through 7 holes, Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG)
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About Maybank
The Maybank Group is Malaysia’s regional financial services leader with an international network of over 2,200 offices in 20 countries namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China, Myanmar, Laos, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain and the United States of America.
The Group offers an extensive range of products and services, which includes commercial banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, stock broking, insurance and takaful and asset management. It has over 46,000 employees serving 22 million customers worldwide.
About the Malaysian Golf Association
Founded in 1929, the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) as the sole governing body of golf in Malaysia has been entrusted to promote the game while preserving its traditions and integrity.
It’s a non-government organization that runs by volunteers who are passionate about the game with the help of a team of management staff.
The Association’s portfolios have increased over the years ranging from conducting 14 state amateur opens, national amateur open, national amateur close, Malaysian Open to processing handicaps through its National Handicap System to promoting grassroots programs and training of the athletes to represent Malaysia in the international events.
We take our responsibilities seriously in promoting the game in Malaysia while simultaneously upholding the Rules of Golf as prescribed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A).
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
About The European Tour
The European Tour is committed to celebrating the game of golf from the origins of the professional game, building a proud history of achievement, sportsmanship and integrity as well as showcasing our diverse global talent and rich landscapes. The European Tour's innovative approach enables us to embrace the world, combining championships of tradition with new tournaments in the cities and countries of the future.
The European Tour International Schedule, which from 2009 has incorporated The Race to Dubai, is a thriving global brand which, in 2012, will feature a minimum of 46 tournaments spread across all five continents of the world; the European Challenge Tour focuses on the up and coming players of the future; while the European Senior Tour provides a new start for champions celebrating their 50th birthday.
The European Tour’s corporate identity features the iconic silhouette image of six-time Open Champion Harry Vardon who gives his name to The Harry Vardon Trophy, presented to the player who is crowned European Tour Number One and winner of The Race to Dubai at the end of the season.
About Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) is a member of Sime Darby Property Bhd and a propriety Club wholly-owned and operated by KLGCC Berhad. The club has won numerous accolades from both local and foreign golfing fraternity, the latest being voted the Malaysia’s Golf Club of the Year in Par Golf Awards 2011, No.1 Golf Course in Malaysia and Best Clubhouse in Asia Pacific by Asian Golf Monthly Awards 2011 and HAPA Golf Course of the Year by the prestigious Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards Regional Series 2011 – 2013. Today, it has become a landmark as the most luxurious golf resort development in Malaysia and KLGCC has in recent years hosted numerous international championships such as the Maybank Malaysian Open and the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
About GlobalOne
GlobalOne is an executive lifestyle sports marketing consultancy. We have in the past created partnerships in golf, motor racing, sailing, tennis, rugby, skiing, athletics, basketball, cycling and skiing. Today, as an event promoter, GlobalOne’s primary focus and area of sports rights ownership is professional golf.
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