Thai star Kiradech trails by one at CIMB Classic

Sat 26 Oct 2013

Thai star Kiradech trails by one at CIMB Classic

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Kuala Lumpur, October 26: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat will play the most important 18 holes yet of his burgeoning career on Sunday after ending the third round of the CIMB Classic one shot behind co-leaders Chris Stroud and Ryan Moore.
The current Asian Tour number one battled to a three-under-par 69 in the third round at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s West course which ended with an anxious wait at the end of his round to review television footages of an incident at the 13th hole when his ball moved.
But after being cleared by the rules officials, the talented 24-year-old will now shoot for his biggest career victory yet at the US$7 million tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA TOUR, and also his second title on the West course after winning the Malaysian Open here in March.
Ryan Moore of USA Ryan Moore of USA
“I feel really pleased with the way I'm playing.  It was a good start, three days in a row on the front nine, but struggling a bit on the back. Three rounds, kind of mixed golf on the back nine.  But I'm working on my putting a lot from yesterday, and that helped. I’m happy with three under, and just a good chance which I'll try to catch up in the final round,” said Kiradech, who made three birdies and an eagle in his opening 10 holes before dropping a double bogey on 14.
Stroud, searching for his first PGA TOUR title, shot a 68 for a 12-under-par 204 aggregate alongside Moore, who returned a 69 as he seeks his third career victory at the CIMB Classic.
Another American, Gary Woodland moved into a share of third with Kiradech after a 67 while veteran Jerry Kelly shot a stellar 66 for fifth place, two behind the lead.
A win on Sunday will earn Kiradech a handsome cheque of US$1.26 million, playing rights on the PGA TOUR for essentially the next three years, a place at the Masters Tournament next April plus a host of other invitations.
“I’m just going to try to play my game, stick to my game plan and just play on my form,” said Kiradech. “I don't want to look at the leaders too much, so if you look at the score, maybe the results are so tough to make the score. Just try to focus, play and enjoy the final round.
“I don't want to put a lot of pressure to me. Like I said, I just want to play  good golf, have fun.”
It wasn’t quite a fun finish when Kiradech was asked to review the incident on the 13th. He later explained: “I had my mark on the ball, and I put the ball always in the centre. When I walked to the ball, I only looked at the pin. First time I looked back at the ball, I could see my marker not being on the centre. Normally it is, and I'm sure my ball is moving.  I walk in and just walk out and called the rules (official), and I'm really sure that I haven't touched the club before the ball moved. There was no penalty,” said Kiradech, who will play in the penultimate group in the final round.
Moore was disappointed with a poor stretch on the back nine where he dropped four shots over five holes after turning in 31. “It was almost two different days out there. I really got going, really hot early, making a lot of putts and making a lot of birdies.  And then just kind of hit a pretty rough stretch there in the middle,” said Moore.
Keegan Bradley of USA Keegan Bradley of USA
“I've obviously been playing some pretty good golf this week. It's been a little up and down these last couple days, but I have enough positives that I've just got to kind of keep doing exactly what I'm doing.”
Stroud hit four birdies in a row from the fifth hole to launch himself into contention on a day when the leaders came back into the field through dropped shots on the more challenging back nine on the West course.
“I really hung in there, gave myself a lot of good looks and I got on a good tear there. There's a lot of wedges, but I'll tell you what, if you do not hit a fairway, you're going to struggle to make par, and that's really my focus,” he said.
Overnight leader Keegan Bradley struggled to a 76 to fall three shots off the pace while world number three Phil Mickelson shot his week’s best round to date with a 68 to lie five behind the leaders alongside Korea’s K.J. Choi in equal 11th place.
Choi, an Asian Tour honorary member and an eight-time winner on the PGA TOUR, shot a 70 which included a disappointing double bogey on 17 after a misjudged approach shot from the rough ended in water.
He said: “It was a good round but the 17th hole ruined it for me. Still one more day and hopefully I can catch up. I found the water from the rough. That was my luck of the day. I thought it was going right at the pin and if I had got a birdie there, I would have been right up there. Now, it’s a three shot difference.”
Scores after round 3 of the 2013 CIMB Classic being played at the par 72, 6924 Yards Kuala Lumpur GCC course (a- denotes amateur):
204 - Chris Stroud (USA) 67-69-68, Ryan Moore (USA) 63-72-69.
205 - Gary Woodland (USA) 68-70-67, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 67-69-69.
206 - Jerry Kelly (USA) 71-69-66.
207 - Graham DeLaet (CAN) 72-67-68, Stewart Cink (USA) 70-68-69, Keegan Bradley (USA) 65-66-76.
K.J Choi of Korea K.J Choi of Korea
208 - Kyle Stanley (USA) 73-67-68, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 66-71-71.
209 - Jimmy Walker (USA) 74-68-67, Bryce Molder (USA) 73-69-67, Phil Mickelson (USA) 71-70-68, K.J. Choi (KOR) 68-71-70, Harris English (USA) 71-67-71.
210 - Jonas Blixt (USA) 72-70-68, Charles Howell III (USA) 69-72-69, Shiv Kapur (IND) 69-70-71, Aaron Baddeley (AUS) 73-67-70, Bill Haas (USA) 72-67-71, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 70-68-72, Chris Kirk (USA) 67-71-72.
211 - Tim Clark (RSA) 72-69-70.
212 - Josh Teater (USA) 74-66-72, Jeff Overton (USA) 73-67-72, Bubba Watson (USA) 78-69-65.
213 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 72-70-71, Billy Horschel (USA) 72-69-72, Boo Weekley (USA) 67-74-72, Kevin Stadler (USA) 71-69-73, Wade Ormsby (AUS) 70-69-74.
214 - Nick Watney (USA) 75-69-70, Camilo Villegas (COL) 70-71-73, Roberto Castro (USA) 74-70-70, John Huh (USA) 71-74-69, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 75-70-69, Michael Thompson (USA) 75-71-68, Martin Laird (SCO) 68-70-76, Marc Leishman (AUS) 72-65-77.
About CIMB Group
The title sponsor of the CIMB Classic is CIMB Group. CIMB Group is one of ASEAN’s leading universal banking groups. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the Group is now present in 8 out of 10 ASEAN nations. CIMB Group offers a full suite of financial services and related products; has a market capitalisation of approximately US$18.4 billion as at 31 Jul 2013 and over 42,000 employees located in 17 countries. Read more about CIMB Group at www.cimb.com.
About PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 100 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
The PGA TOUR’s mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.
PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to approximately 945 million households in 225 countries and territories in 32 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2012, tournaments on the three Tours generated more than $130 million for local charitable organizations, bringing the TOUR’s all-time total of charitable contributions to more than $1.86 billion.
The PGA TOUR's web site is PGATOUR.com, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
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), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), 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.