Brilliant Prom races two clear at Queen’s Cup

golf icon isn 2Samui, Thailand: Thailand’s Prom Meesawat shot a second successive six-under-par 65 to open up a two-shot lead from countryman Jazz Janewattananond and Australian Scott Hend after the third round of the Queen’s Cup on Saturday.

The burly home star brilliantly snared seven birdies against a lone bogey at the Santiburi Samui Country Club to lead the US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament on 13-under-par 200.

Big-hitting Hend fired a blemish-free 64 to charge into contention for a ninth Asian Tour title while Jazz returned a 66 to earn his shot at a maiden title on Sunday.

In-form Korean Jeunghun Wang, who won back-to-back tournaments in Morocco and Mauritius last month, produced a career low 62 with two eagles and seven birdies to trail by three alongside American Paul Peterson, who returned a 68.

Prom, 31, hit top form from the ninth hole with five consecutive birdies before dropping a shot on 14 for only his third bogey of the week.

“Five birdies in a row … it’s a good turning point. I birdied nine and 10 which are not easy holes and I had another special one on 12. After I hit it into the bunker, I thought if I can walk away with par, I’ll be happy. (But) I just hit it beautifully to two feet, a six iron from 175 yards. That was the best shot of the day,” beamed Prom, who is nicknamed the “Big Dolphin”.

Bidding for a third Asian Tour victory and a first on home soil, Prom said the key would be to stick to his own game, despite having the likes of Hend and Wang, the highest two ranked players in the field, chasing him.

“When you have a couple of shots lead, it’s a good position. I’ll just concentrate on my game which has been what I’ve been doing for three rounds. It’ll be between me and the golf course. On this course, you have to fight the course, you can’t fight the other players,” said Prom.

“If you can win the royal trophy, it will be an honour for you and your family. Any event you win at home will always be special.”

Hend, the most successful international golfer on the Asian Tour, was in complete control of his game to tame Santiburi Samui, nicknamed the Beast of Samui, with seven birdies, including five on the home stretch.

“This course doesn’t suit me at all. I just play total opposite golf than what I want to play,” said Hend, one of the longest drivers on Tour.

“My strength is my drives and it’s not something I can do around here. If I hit it good, I’ll make an easy birdie and if I don’t I’ll make an easy triple. It’s just about being patient especially on the front nine. The added pressure tomorrow for the boys on the back nine will be fun.”

The 20-year-old Jazz, who enjoyed his career first top-five in Samui in 2013, hopes his liking for the greens will rub off positively in his quest for a maiden victory in Asia.

“My putting has been working well. I haven’t hit it too good but I’ve got it back on the greens. I just have to try to hole everything that I see tomorrow and try to not miss a shot off the tee,” he said.

Round of the day belonged to Wang, another rising star aged only 20 and currently ranked second on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit. After bogeys on one and five, the slender Korean played the remaining holes in 11 under to rise up the leaderboard.

“I had a great putting day … seven birdies and two eagles, it’s really a fantastic day. I was angry after five holes, but the eagle on six was a big turning point,” said Wang, who drilled a three iron to two feet for his three at the par five sixth hole.

“On 18, I had 188 yards to the pin and hit a six iron to 10 feet (for eagle). I have a lot of confidence right now. If I can keep hitting iron shots like this, I think I can have another good score tomorrow,” added the Korean.

Scores after round 3 of the Queen's Cup Samui Golf Tournament 2016 being played at the par 71, 6808 Yards Santiburi GCC course (am - denotes amateur):
200 - Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-65-65.
202 - Scott HEND (AUS) 69-69-64, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 69-67-66.
203 - Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 69-72-62, Paul PETERSON (USA) 70-65-68.
204 - Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA) 67-69-68.
205 - Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 70-70-65, Sorachut HANSAPIBAN (THA) 68-72-65, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 73-65-67, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 70-68-67.
206 - Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 70-70-66, HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE) 72-67-67, Natthapong NIYOMCHON (THA) 70-69-67, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 70-67-69, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 66-69-71.
207 - Simon GRIFFITHS (ENG) 71-71-65.
208 - Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 69-72-67, CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 73-68-67, Phanuvich ONCHU (THA) 70-69-69.