Thailand’s Poom Saksansin sensationally holed his third shot from 112 yards on the par-five 18th for an eagle to take the third-round lead in the Yeangder TPC today at Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
His eight-under-par 64, for an 18-under total, opened up a two-shot lead from defending champion Travis Smyth from Australia, who carded a 68, Chinese-Taipei’s Lee Chieh-po, the runner-up last year, in with a 66, and Indian Gaganjeet Bhullar, the 2012 winner here, who shot 67.
Chinese-Taipei amateur Su Ching-hung returned a 66 and is one shot further back.
Poom is a three-time winner on the Asian Tour but his most recent victory came in 2018 at the Indonesian Masters and he has rarely featured since that win – which was his second success in the tournament, having also triumphed in 2016.
Said 30-year-old Poom: “On the first nine holes I could control everything, good driver, good irons and putting well, but on the back nine I was stuck with the wind reading a little bit, and then lost confidence with the driver. But on the last hole I got lucky and holed it from 112 yards for eagle.”
He made six birdies in his first 10 holes before his explosive finish.
“I think because I am playing less golf now, I don’t expect so much, just enjoy my golf that’s what I think. I always see my coach and then practice like one or two hour a day, some days I don’t practice,” added the Thai golfer, whose fiancé Piyatida, or ‘Ing Ing’, is caddying for him this week.
Smyth is attempting to become the first back-to-back winner of the event and is well placed to achieve that ahead of tomorrow’s final round.
“Another tough day, super windy, a lot of cross breezes,” he said.
“Anything under par was a good score but everyone’s going low so four under doesn’t seem too good. But yeah, two behind the lead, good position one more day to go.
“It was a bit mix and match, hit some poor tee shots but recovered well. My short game has been good so I’m gonna go work on the driver now. If I can hit a good off the tee tomorrow, I think I’ll be hard to beat.”
He made a fast start by making birdies on the first two holes but then dropped his only shot of the day on four, before rebounding on the back nine with birdies on 10, 12 and 13.
Lee lost by two shots to Smyth last year but will have a chance tomorrow to make amends for that tomorrow, although he will play in the final group, with Smyth in the pairing ahead.
“I just played a solid round, and yesterday and today I was putting well so that’s about it,” said Lee.
“I just need to keep patient tomorrow and make sure that I get the wind direction is right, and do my best. Today sometimes the wind changed direction, it’s getting a little bit harder. And the pins were also tough today.
Bhullar made five birdies and was bogey free and is looking for his first win since last year’s Mandiri Indonesia Open – which was his 10th Asian Tour title.
Said the Indian: “Today I had a little shaky start. I thought I hit the ball well but just missed fairways. Three straight pars but then birdie on four gave me some momentum. After that made some more good birdies and kept attacking the flags. My swing feels great and the goal is to try and keep the ball in play. Coming back here every year I know this course demands you to hit the ball straight. It is not that long but as long as you are in the fairway you can go low.”
Indian Rashid Khan (66), Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat (67) and Phachara Khongwatmai (68) and American Micah Lauren Shin (67) are tied for sixth four behind Poom.
Scores after round 3 of the Yeangder TPC being played at the par 72, 7108 Yards Linkou GcC course (am – denotes amateur):
198 – Poom Saksansin (THA) 68-66-64.
200 – Lee Chieh-po (TWN) 67-67-66, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 66-67-67, Travis Smyth (AUS) 65-67-68.
201 – Su Ching-hung (am, TWN) 65-70-66.
202 – Rashid Khan (IND) 70-66-66, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 65-70-67, Micah Lauren Shin (USA) 66-69-67, Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) 66-68-68.
203 – Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 67-68-68, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 67-67-69, Jack Thompson (AUS) 67-66-70.
204 – Chan Shih-chang (TWN) 68-70-66, Douglas Klein (AUS) 69-68-67.
206 – Karandeep Kochhar (IND) 67-71-68, Yeh Yu-chen (TWN) 68-70-68, Settee Prakongvech (THA) 68-69-69, Jaco Ahlers (RSA) 67-70-69, Ben Campbell (NZL) 69-71-66.
207 – Liu Yung-hua (TWN) 67-72-68, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 68-69-70, Hanmil Jung (KOR) 67-69-71, Natipong Srithong (THA) 63-73-71, Kosuke Hamamoto (THA) 65-71-71, Matthew Cheung (HKG) 65-71-71, Justin Quiban (PHI) 66-68-73.
208 – Mingyu Cho (KOR) 67-71-70, Veer Ahlawat (IND) 68-70-70, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 66-71-71.
209 – Chang Wei-lun (TWN) 70-68-71, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 68-71-70, Taichi Kho (HKG) 67-72-70, Huang Chi (TWN) 71-67-71, Lloyd Jefferson Go (PHI) 70-69-70, Nicolas Paez (USA) 67-73-69, Hung Chien-yao (TWN) 67-69-73, Bjorn Hellgren (SWE) 64-70-75.
210 – Michael Maguire (USA) 71-67-72, Turk Pettit (USA) 68-71-71, Khalin Joshi (IND) 69-70-71, Berry Henson (USA) 69-71-70, Lai Chia-i (TWN) 71-65-74, Ian Snyman (RSA) 68-67-75, Mardan Mamat (SGP) 71-70-69, Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 66-68-76.
211 – MJ Viljoen (RSA) 66-73-72, Shahriffuddin Ariffin (MAS) 68-70-73, Josh Younger (AUS) 66-71-74, Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (IND) 69-71-71, Ho Yu-cheng (TWN) 67-68-76, Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 70-71-70, K P Lin (TWN) 70-71-70.
212 – Denwit Boriboonsub (THA) 73-65-74, Jarin Todd (USA) 71-69-72, Viraj Madappa (IND) 74-66-72, Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 72-68-72, Meenwhee Kim (KOR) 68-72-72, Shapiyate Mako (TWN) 72-69-71, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 69-72-71.
213 – Ben Leong (MAS) 69-71-73, Liu Yen-hung (TWN) 69-72-72, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 71-70-72.
214 – Huang Yi-tseng (TWN) 68-71-75, Danthai Boonma (THA) 70-71-73, Chang Tse-yu (TWN) 68-73-73.
215 – Tom Power-Horan (AUS) 68-71-76.
216 – Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 70-70-76, Jaewoong Eom (KOR) 71-69-76.
221 – Dodge Kemmer (USA) 73-68-80.