Chachoengsao (Thailand): India’s SSP Chawrasia made a fine charge towards the end of third round with three birdies in a four-hole run, taking a share of the lead at the Thailand Open here Saturday.
Chawrasia, who last played at the Thai Country Club in 2007, shot three-under 68 to get to 10-under and join his playing partner, Andrew Martin (68).
The golfer, who is skipping next week’s Panasonic Open India to play in the European Tour Qualifying School, needs to get inside Top-60 on Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings to retain his Asian Tour card. He is right now 64th.
Among other Indians, Ajeetesh Sandhu, playing with Chawrasia, had a rough round with five bogeys between third and eighth and finished with two-over 73 on the back of three birdies on the back nine.
At five-under for the tournament he is tied 11th alongside Shiv Kapur (71), who had two birdies in first three holes.
Jyoti Randhawa, whose last Asian Tour win came at this very event in 2009, but at the Laguna Phuket Golf Club, shot four-under 67 to move up to tied 26th. Interestingly, that year at the Thai Open, Chawrasia was tied fourth.
Chawrasia, smiling as always, said, “It’s been 12 long years since I last played here at the Thai Country Club. The course still feels similar to back then except that the trees have grown much taller. It was nice to be back here and be in a share of the lead heading into the final round.”
“It was nice to shoot three birdies in the last five holes. I missed a couple of putts on the front nine but it got better on the back, even though it was windy. This is my last year of winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour so a good result tomorrow will help a lot.”
Chawrasia is a six-time winner on Asian Tour and four of those victories were in events co-sanctioned with the European Tour, and his last win was the 2017 Hero Indian Open, which was co-sanctioned. His exemption runs out at the end of this year.
Overnight co-leader amateur Natthaphat Harnchokchaiskul (70) dropped to third at nine-under, while the other second round co-leader Poom Pattaropong (75) slipped to tied 17th.
Chawrasia, playing only his fifth event on Asian Tour this season, and Martin started the day trailing Nattaphat by one and they posted matching three-under-par 68s to seize a one-shot advantage at the Thai Country Club.