Magical Mo Ties Pagunsan in Singha Thai Pga Championship

Sat 28 Jun 2008

Magical Mo Ties Pagunsan in Singha Thai Pga Championship

Chiang Rai, Thailand, June 28: Korea's Mo Joong-kyung earned a shot at ending a 12-year winless drought on the Asian Tour when he snatched the joint third round lead with Filipino Juvic Pagusan at the US$300,000 Singha Thailand PGA Championship presented by Sports Authority of Thailand on Saturday.
Mo, who posted his lone victory in the region at the 1996 Guam Open, launched his title charge with a three-under-par 69 at Santiburi Country Club Chiang Rai while overnight leader Pagusan returned a 71 for a three-day total of 14-under-par 202.

Hot favourite Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, on the back of two straight victories in Japan, stumbled down the stretch for a 73 to slip to three shots back in joint third place with Malaysia's Ben Leong (66) and American Han Lee (68).

The 36-year-old Mo produced the fireworks on his back nine, mixing a magical eagle and three birdies against two bogeys. "The front nine is so tough and I told myself to shoot two or three under on the back nine as there are some par fives which is reachable in two," said Mo.
"I'm pleased with the way I played. I've not won for a long time on the Asian Tour but I've won four times in Korea since that win, the last being in 2006. We'll see what happens tomorrow," said Mo.

The Korean produced his best shot of the round at the par five 13th hole when he rifled a five iron approach to a foot for a tap-in eagle. "That was really nice," he smiled. "The last hole is also reachable in two and I set my mind for a birdie (which gave him the joint lead)," he added.

Pagunsan's smooth-flowing game stuttered in the heat of battle as he carded two birdies against a lone bogey, a far cry from his second round 63. "It was a tough day playing with these two guys. The putts weren't going in, so hopefully it'll be better tomorrow. I didn't have any rhythm with my swing and I hit some poor drives," said the 30-year-old Filipino, who is chasing a second Asian Tour victory.
"I still have a chance to win but I've got to keep to my same game plan, which is to hit fairways and greens."

The wheels fell off dramatically for Prayad, who was cruising at two under through 14 holes. He dropped a bogey at the 15th hole after finding the greenside bunker from the middle of the fairway and gave away a costly double bogey at the par three 17th hole when an errant six iron tee shot found the watery grave.

The local hero, a six-time Asian Tour winner, found water again at the last hole with his drive but scrambled to save par to keep alive his hopes of a third victory this month.
"I got a bit tired towards the end and didn't play very well. I made some mistakes but the good thing is that I'm only three behind," said the 42-year-old. "Juvic didn't play well either but I failed to take advantage of it. I'll try to play better from behind tomorrow."

Malaysia's Leong, 22, made his charge by posting seven birdies against a lone bogey but was nonchalant about his prospects on Sunday. "I hit the ball really good and made some putts," said Leong, the Qualifying School winner in the last two years.

"Tee to green, I was solid and I just made my fair share of putts. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. Whoever makes the most putts tomorrow will win. Hopefully it's me, so we'll see."

The Malaysian feels a career breakthrough victory was around the corner. "I've just got to stay solid and consistent. I'm not far from a win. Just a few shots here and there, but I've still got a lot to learn. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

American Han Lee shot a bogey-free 68 to join Leong and Prayad in a share of third place while Thai newcomer Pariya Junhasavasdikul produced the day's best with a 65 to move into tied sixth place on 207 alongside Aussie duo Unho Park and David Gleeson.

Han, who already has two top-three finishes in Thailand this season, said: "I like the score but it could have been a great round as I missed several birdie chances after making some really good shots in the middle of the round. Obviously, I need a good round tomorrow to give myself a chance of winning."

Leading third round scores

202 - Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 68-63-71, Mo Joong-kyung (KOR) 69-64-69

205 - Ben Leong (MAS) 69-70-66, Han Lee (USA) 68-69-68, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 67-65-73

207 - Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 72-70-65, David Gleeson (AUS) 68-72-67, Unho Park (AUS) 67-70-70

208 - Choengchai Panpumpo (THA) 70-71-67

209 - Guido Van Der Valk (NLD) 72-69-68, Prom Meesawat (THA) 70-70-69, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 70-68-71

210 - Antonio Lascuna (PHI) 72-68-70, Lien Lu-sen (TPE) 67-71-72, Arjun Singh (IND) 68-69-73, Thammanoon Srirot (THA) 68-70-72

211 - Kao Bo-song (TPE) 69-73-69, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 67-73-71, Adam Groom (AUS) 71-69-71, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 70-70-71, Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 68-71-72, Chang Tse-peng (TPE) 68-69-74

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