Thongchai Tied on Top

Sat 06 Dec 2008

Thongchai Tied on Top


Ho Chi Minh, December 6: Thai star Thongchai Jaidee fired a two-under-par 70 and joined Japan's Kodai Ichihara and Korea's Pyo Suk-min at the top of the pack at the Hana Bank Vietnam Masters on Saturday.

The former Asian Tour number one holed four birdies against two dropped shots for a 10-under-par 206 total and was tied at the top of the leaderboard alongside overnight leader Pyo who shot a 73 and first round pace setter Ichihara who was even-par for the day in the third round at the Vietnam Golf and Country Club.

Korea's Young Nam and Rhys Davies of Wales shot matching 70s to lie in a tie for fourth spot together with Filipino Artemio Murakami who posted a 71 for a 207 total. Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant carded a 71 and was in the mix in seventh place alongside Pijit Petchkasem of Thailand who improved with a 69 in the US$500,000 Asian Tour tournament.

With eight wins on the Asian Tour, Thongchai will be gunning to end his two year title drought this week.

"I've been trying my best at every event including this week. My putting in the last two weeks has not been steady but this week it's been good. The greens are slightly tricky though.

"My plan is to have a good overall game. The pin positions were tough but I played some good shots out there and if I can remain steady in the final day, then I should be in a good position for a win," said Thongchai, who won the 2006 Volvo Masters of Asia.

Japan's Ichihara, who finished in the top-10 at the Philippine Open, shrugged off the early nerves for an even par performance today.

"I was nervous today playing in the final group but after the first few holes, I regained my rhythm and stayed composed. It will be my first time playing with Thongchai so it's going to be an exciting final round for me," said Ichihara, who was the 1999 World Junior individual and team champion.

Korea's Pyo, who is playing in his debut event on the Asian Tour this week, will be taking on a relaxed approach heading into the final round.

"I spoke to my dad (Pyo Chang-hwan) over the phone and he told me to follow my rhythm so I will not think about the result but take it one hole at a time.

"I was a bit nervous and my confidence level dropped but I've learned from my experience today and will head out with a more calm approach tomorrow," said the 23-year-old Pyo.

Korea's Young Nam, who is ranked 81st on the money list, holed an eagle at the par five 10th hole on the way to a 70.

"My putting was poor but if I can improve on that, then it should turn out well on Sunday and strengthen my position on the rankings," said the Korean golfer, who needs to finish in the top-65 on the money list to secure full playing rights for next season and a place in the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia.

Australia's Scott Barr blasted the tournament's second hole-in-one at the par three 177 yards eighth hole on the way to a 74 to lie in a tie for 19th place.

"The hole-in-one was great but I double bogeyed the next hole, but that's golf I guess," said Barr, who is gunning for his first top-10 result this season.

Leading third round scores

206 - Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 67-69-70, Pyo Suk-min (KOR) 66-67-73, Kodai Ichihara (JPN) 65-69-72
207 - Rhys Davies (WAL) 67-70-70, Artemio Murakami (PHI) 67-69-71, Young Nam (KOR) 67-70-70
208 - Pijit Petchkasem (THA) 69-70-69, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 72-65-71
209 - Lam Chih bing (SIN) 73-69-67, Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 71-70-68, Sattaya Supupramai (THA) 69-70-70, Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 66-70-73
210 - Pornsakon Tipsanit (THA) 73-69-68, Frankie Minoza (PHI) 69-72-69, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 70-71-69, S. Siva Chandhran (MAS) 71-70-69
211 - Taichiro Kiyota (JPN) 68-72-71, Jason King (AUS) 71-68-72
212 - Kwanchai Tannin (THA) 73-72-67, Baaz Mann (IND) 73-71-68, David Bransdon (AUS) 73-70-69, Simon Griffiths (ENG) 72-71-69, Anthony Kang (USA) 67-76-69, Somkiat Srisanga (THA) 72-67-73, Scott Barr (AUS) 66-72-74

About Hana Bank Vietnam Masters 2008

The Hana Bank Vietnam Masters 2008 is a full-field Asian Tour sanctioned event and will be held at the host venue, Vietnam Golf and Country Club in Ho Chi Minh city from Dec 4 to 7, 2008. Title sponsored by Hana Bank, one of the largest bank in Korea, the US$500,000 event will welcome the best players from the Asian Tour and will be featured on ESPN STAR Sports the following week on an one-hour highlights shows and Asian Tour Weekly half-hour magazine show. TV times will be available on The Hana Bank Vietnam Masters 2008 is organized and promoted by BHT Asia Limited with full support from the Vietnam Golf Association. Other sponsors include Pepsi (Official Water), Sofitel Plaza Saigon (Official Hotel) Vietnam Airlines (Official Airline), Srixon (Official Ball) Carlsberg (Official Beer), and Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider). 
 About Hana Bank
Hana Bank, established in 1991, is one of the largest banks in Korea and a staunch supporter of professional golf worldwide. The Hana Bank Vietnam Masters 2008 will be the second successive year that Hana Bank is returning as the title sponsor. Hana Bank is also a major sponsor of the Korean Open, the national open of Korea, which is part of the Asian Tour schedule and also the official sponsor of the Hana Bank-Kolon Championship, an LPGA event in Korea. Since 2007, Hana Bank has been supporting multicultural families including a number of Vietnamese immigrants in Korea. Through this Hana Bank Vietnam Masters 2008 sponsorship, it further hopes to enhance its campaign for cultural exchange among Asian countries.

About the Asian Tour
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 Carlsberg (Official Beer), ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider), Sofitel (Official Hotel), TIME and FORTUNE (Corporate Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore's premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.

For further information, please contact Asian Tour's Shenton Gomez at the Hana Bank Vietnam Masters media centre at: +84 862 800 121.