Samui, Thailand: A happy-go-lucky Poom Saksansin of Thailand stayed one shot clear of a fast-charging Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh after the third round of the Queen’s Cup on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Thai rookie dropped his first bogey of the week at Santiburi Samui Country Club en route to a three-under-par 68 to keep his lead for a third straight day at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event with a 12-under-par 201 aggregate.
EurAsia Cup star Siddikur fired a stunning 64 with seven birdies as he moved into contention for a third Asian Tour victory while two-time Order of Merit champion Thaworn Wiratchant (67) is equal third with countryman Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (71) and Korea’s Baek Seuk-hun (71), five off the pace on 206.
Qualifying School graduate Poom dropped his first shot of the tournament at the par three fifth hole but showed poise beyond his young age to sink four birdies and put himself in position for a dream victory at the Queen’s Cup, which is sponsored by Bangkok Airways and Sports Authority of Thailand. “I feel happy. I felt quite the same as yesterday. I have my uncle, Piatya caddying for me and I’m able to talk to him. He said just ‘play the game, don’t look at the leaderboard’. I said ‘oh, Siddikur is 10-under’ and he said ‘just hit your shot,’” laughed Poom.
After helping Thailand claim the team gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games last year, Poom joined the paid ranks and underlined his growing potential with a domestic victory in February against some of the country’s top stars. He is staying level headed at the prospect of completing a wire-to-wire victory on Sunday. “The most important shot is the shot you’re playing, that’s all. I’ve been hitting it good all week, trying to hit as good as I can. I’ve been sleeping well in my hotel because I’m tired every day. I will try to focus on my game, play golf and be happy. If I can finish as champion, and that’s an if, I will go back home and celebrate with my mum. I won’t think ahead too much,” said soft-spoken Poom. “This is the second time I’m in the last group. I won a tournament in Chiangrai … I proved that I can make it, so hopefully tomorrow again.”
After six straight pars, Siddikur produced the fireworks at Santiburi Samui, a course where he has enjoyed three top-10s, as he narrowed his overnight five-shot deficit on Poom to one. “It was really a great round. I’m really happy, especially with my putting which I got back. My hitting was excellent, overall it was very good,” enthused Siddikur, who needed only 25 putts. “I practiced more on my putting after yesterday’s round. I think that helped me a lot as I got my feel back. I’m in good form, I feel confident. This is one of my favourite places in Asia. I’m confident and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Burly Baek struggled to an outward 38 but fought back with three birdies coming home. He is not writing off his chances of a maiden Asian Tour victory although he trails the leader by five shots. “I’m five behind but on this course, anything can happen. My tee shot is getting better but I’m not going to just go for it. I want to enjoy it as this course is a tough one,” said Baek, currently fifth on the Order of Merit. “I played good on the first nine but I couldn’t get it up and down. I’m happy to come back after the problems on the front nine but I still missed some chances, like that three footer on the last hole. “Poom is playing good, he’s short game and putting is really good. He’s a straight-hitting guy. He’s got to have a good mind tomorrow if he wants to win it,” said Baek.
Current Order of Merit leader Anirban Lahiri carded a 70 for tied 20th place on 213.
Scores after round 3 of the Queen’s Cup Bangkok Airways – SAT Samui Golf 2014 being played at the par 71, 6823 Yards Santiburi GC course (a- denotes amateur): 201 – Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 66-67-68. 202 – Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 68-70-64. 206 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 71-68-67, Donlaphatchai NIYOMCHON (THA) 68-68-70, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 69-66-71. 208 – Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 72-67-69. 209 – WANG Jeung-hun (KOR) 72-69-68, Manav JAINI (IND) 68-72-69, Richard T. LEE (CAN) 69-71-69. 210 – Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 69-71-70, Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 69-71-70, CHOO Tze Huang (SIN) 67-72-71.” 211 – Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 73-70-68, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 71-71-69.
Source: Asian Tour