Kapur Maintains Slim Lead at Double a International Open

Sat 05 Nov 2005

Kapur Maintains Slim Lead at Double a International Open

Rayong, Thailand, November 5:  India’s Shiv Kapur held on to a slender one-stroke lead over Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee after carding a one-under-par 72 in the third round of the US$300,000 Double A International Open on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Kapur, searching for his first win on the Asian Tour, enjoyed a brilliant start with four birdies in his opening 10 holes but stumbled on the back nine of the par 73 St Andrews Hill (2000) Golf Club.

Although the in-form Indian, who has posted four top-10s in his last five starts, shot three birdies on the inward stretch, he dropped bogeys on the 11th, 13th and 18th including a costly double bogey in the 16th with a wayward drive.

Thai star Thongchai Jaidee birdied two of his last three holes for a 69 as he fought back from five shot behind at one stage while Scotsman Simon Yates and Thailand's Thammanoon Srirot share third place, three off the lead after rounds of 71 and 72 respectively left them on 209.

Filipino Gerald Rosales charged into contention with a bogey-free 68 for joint fifth place with Germany's Joachen Lupprian, Kenny Walker of Scotland and Australian Jason Dawes.

“I had a chance to separate myself from the pack but I failed to capitalize on it,” said Kapur, who leads with a three-day total of 13-under-par 206 aggregate.

“I was cruising along nicely but then made some mistakes coming in and didn't hole many putts. But I hope to learn from that and deliver a good score tomorrow. I’ve done well to maintain my lead at the top of the leaderboard and it's mine to win or lose tomorrow."

A change of game plan proved to be the turning point for Thongchai as he birdied the fourth, fifth, 10th, 16th and 18th holes against a bogey on the 15th to add the pressure on Kapur, who is playing in his rookie season on the Asian Tour.

“I am only one behind now and I will be fully focused tomorrow. I hit the irons well today and never thought about being five behind at one point but I just kept to my game plan,” said Thongchai, a two-time Asian number one.

“Shiv started really well but he had problems on the back nine. I had to take advantage and that was exactly what I did as I finished strongly with birdies on the 16th and 18th.”

Thongchai birdied the par-six fourth hole, the first to be played on a major Tour, after back-to-back bogeys in the opening two rounds. He hit a wedge to 12 feet for birdie on the 16th hole and birdied from seven feet at the 18th as he closed the gap on a faltering Kapur.

“I changed my game plan on the par six as I teed off with a three wood and then hit four iron, five iron and an eight iron to 12 feet for a birdie."

Scotsman Yates gave himself a chance with a battling 71 where he closed with birdies on 14 and 18. He lamented a mental error on seven which he bogeyed. "I went with a driver but found the hazard with the tee shot. That was the turning point but it was good to birdie the last hole from four feet," said the Thai-based Yates.

Filipino Rosales was in high spirits when he rolled birdies on the first, third, seventh, 10th and 14th foles as he cruised into position on golf's moving day. It was a positive turn of affairs for the 29-year-old who was in contention in the Hero Honda Indian Open last week before falling off the pace at the weekend.

“I was disappointed in India last week but the course there was tough to manage. I'm striking the ball well and this golf course is much more forgiving,” said Rosales, who like Kapur is also chasing for his first Asian Tour win.

The Double A International Open is making its debut on the Asian Tour this week.

Leading third round scores

206 - Shiv Kapur (IND) 66-68-72

207- Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 67-71-69

209 - Simon Yates (SCO) 70-68-71, Thammanoon Srirot (THA) 69-68-72

210 - Gerald Rosales (PHI) 72-70-68, Jochen Lupprian (GER) 71-69-70, Kenny Walker (SCO) 66-73-71, Jason Dawes (AUS) 68-71-71

211 - Chinarat Phadungsil [A] (THA) 73-68-70,Pat Giles (AUS) 70-71-70, Harmeet Kahlon (IND) 71-69-71

212 - Amandeep Johl (IND) 73-71-68, Scott Strange (AUS) 70-72-70, Steven Tan (MAS) 70-70-72

213 - Rahil Gangjee (IND) 71-73-69, Larry Austin (AUS) 73-69-71, Unho Park (AUS) 68-73-72, Alistair Presnell (AUS) 73-67-73, Hendrik Buhrmann (RSA) 71-76-66

214 - Cookie La'O (PHI) 70-74-70, Prom Meesawat (THA) 72-71-71, Sung Mao-chang (TPE) 71-72-71, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 69-76-69, Chris Travers (AUS) 72-69-73, Angelo Que

(PHI) 69-70-75