CHON BURI, Thailand: Overnight leader Charl Schwartzel of South Africa carded a third-round 68 to extend his lead over Daniel Chopra of Sweden to five shots at the Thailand Golf Championship at the Amata Spring Country Club on Saturday.
Schwartzel, last year’s runner up, shot three birdies and an eagle to go along with a bogey for an overall 18 under 198, staying on track to end a victory drought that stretches back to his Masters win in 2011.
“I felt like today was pretty solid,” Schwartzel said. “I feel comfortable playing this golf course. That’s the biggest key is just feel comfortable whatever you do. If that means being aggressive, then that’s being aggressive.
Chopra, who started the round four strokes back, bounced back from a double bogey on the fifth to fire a 69.
“I played fairly well. I had a couple of loose shots but nothing was really too bad,” Chopra, a two-time PGA Tour winner, said. “I’m five behind. Obviously my goal is to go out there and try to make it uncomfortable for Charl. Nobody wants to see him run away with it. I want to do my best to make it close down the stretch.” Twenty five players, including local Thitiphun Chuayprakong, finished their second rounds Saturday after bad light cut short play on Friday.
Chuayprakong fired a birdie on the last to finish his postponed second round with a 67 but an uneven round of 71 knocked him back to 204 and third place.
“Despite the lowest score in three days, I felt most satisfied today based on how I could control my nerves under a situation like this,” Chuayprakong said. “I was handling it quite well playing alongside a star player like Schwartzel in the leading squad ... I thought I would be under pressure but I felt comfortable.” Sergio Garcia of Spain was fourth, eight shots back, after a third-round 68. Australian Scott Hend (69) is another shot back in fifth, followed by Japan’s Masanori Kobayashi (73) on 208.
Masters champion Bubba Watson (71) and defending champion Lee Westwood (70) are joint seventh another shot back.