KHON KAEN, Thailand: Mardan Mamat of Singapore shot a 6-under 66 yesterday in the third round to regain the lead at the King’s Cup with a one-stroke advantage over Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant.
The 45-year-old Mamat led after the opening round and sank seven birdies this time round — including on his last hole — to move to 17-under 199. His lone bogey was on the sixth.
Thaworn, also age 45, finished with four birdies on Nos. 15-18 at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club.
“It’s going to be tough to beat this old guy (Thaworn) here. If you can get a one-stroke advantage, you’ve got to take it because he can shoot a low number anytime,” said Mamat, who is chasing his fourth Asian Tour title.
Thaworn has steadily improved each round from 69 and 66 on the first two days to 65 on Saturday.
“I was playing well but my tee-off shots and iron shots were not good. Luckily I chipped well, chipping in for three holes. I just have to work more on my driving,’” Thaworn said.
A further stroke behind was Pariya Junhasavasdikul (66) who briefly led the field after 15 holes until back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17.
Friday’s leader Suppakorn Utaipat of Thailand had a triple bogey on the 13th to finish with a 74. He dropped to joint 14th.
China stays ahead after Dongfeng foursomes
In Shanghai, Team China claimed a 7-5 lead over the Asia-Pacific at the Dongfeng Nissan Cup yesterday after sharing the honors in the foursomes round of the OneAsia team golf tournament in Shenzhen.
China took the lead after winning the fourball round 4-2 on Friday and tying Saturday’s foursomes 3-3, ahead of the final round of 12 singles matches Sunday.
“It could have been much better,” said Asia-Pacific team captain Peter Thomson, the legendary Australian five-time Open Championship winner.
“At least we didn’t lose any ground, and there is a lot to play for tomorrow. It should be a great day.”
The visitors led in all six matches at one point, but unforced errors rather than a Team China fightback allowed the home team to get some red on the scoreboard.
Rory Hie and Choo Tze Huang were the worst culprits. Three up at 12, they were beaten one-up by China’s Zhang Lianwei and Yuan Hao after scoring two double bogeys and a bogey in the home stretch.
Andre Stolz and Michael Long will also be looking to make amends in Sunday’s singles. After leading by two at the eighth, they lost seven in-a-row to Zhang Xinjun and Wu Kangchun to go down 5 and 3.
“I never thought our players could come back,” said China vice-captain Cheng Jun. “After the first nine holes all the live scores were blue — but they did it.”
Asia-Pacific vice-captain Scott Laycock, who partnered Mark Brown to a 3 and 2 victory against Wu Weihuang and Zhou Guowu, said he expected a close result.
“None of us like to lose — I hate losing — and this is the message we will be thinking about tonight,” he said.
“It isn’t over by a long shot.”
The Asia-Pacific side triumphed 12 1/2 to 11 1/2 on a gripping final day of singles in the inaugural OneAsia event last year after the teams were level 3-3 following the fourball matches and 6-6 following the foursomes.