Palembang, Indonesia, October 15: Wisut Artjanawat, the highly-rated Thai golfer who many believe has the ability to succeed at the highest level, took the third round lead in the US$75,000 Palembang Musi Championship today.
He carded a six-under-par 66 at Palembang Golf Club giving him an opportunity to win his third title on the ASEAN PGA Tour.
Wisut leads the tournament on 11-under-par 205 by one shot from overnight leader Ilyassak from Indonesia, who fired a 69.
Young Malaysian star Nicholas Fung carded a 65, the lowest round of the week, to move into sole possession of third place two shots behind the leader.
“I have been struggling with my short game for a while but the greens here are a little slower which I prefer. I am holing a lot of putts,” said Wisut.
The 29 year old carded a bogey free round and twice made three birdies in a row from the seventh and later from the 15th.
Wisut is a proven winner having won the Thailand PGA Championship last year and in 2008 he won the Mercedes-Benz Masters Vietnam and the Mercedes-Benz Masters Philippines on the ASEAN PGA Tour.
He turned professional in 2006 after enjoying a distinguished amateur career which saw him claim the individual and team titles in the 2005 Putra Cup.
In an attempt to take his golf to the next level he re-invented his approach to the game this year.
“I have been working very hard with a mental and physical coach in Thailand. I am improving my fitness so that I don’t get tired so easily. I was getting tired after three rounds and did not have enough energy to finish off a tournament properly. Also I am working on my level of concentration so that I can stay focused and not clutter my mind with too many thoughts,” added the Thai.
Veteran Ilyassak, aged 46, led for most of the day but found water on the par four 17th and made a double bogey.
“That was a careless mistake which I am disappointed about. However, I feel a bit more comfortable going into the final round one shot off the lead,” said the strapping golfer for Aceh.
A five time winner on the local Indonesian circuit he is looking for his first victory on the ASEAN PGA Tour.
Fung, who recently claimed back to back titles on the Malaysian Tour, catapulted himself into contention with a brilliant round.
He dropped a shot on the third but then nailed eight birdies despite nursing an upset tummy.
“I have been practicing really hard and it showed today as I hit a lot of shots close and had many short birdies putts. This week has been a bit of a struggle as I have not been feeling that well. I played in the Korea Open last week on OneAsia and I think going from the food there to the food here has upset my stomach. I am feeling better now and looking forward to the final round,” said the 21 year old.
Thailand’s Tanatchan Puaktes returned a 70 and is four back.
Indonesia’s top golfer Rory Hie fired a 71 and is six behind Wisut to give him an outside chance of claiming the title.
Leading Third Round Scores:
Indonesian unless stated
205 - Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 71 68 66
206 - Ilyasyak 68 69 69
207 - Nicholas Fung (MAS) 69 73 65
209 - Tanatchan Puaktes (THA) 68 71 70
210 - Supravee Phatam (THA) 72 72 66
211 - Rory Hie 73 67 71, Somsak Khaoprathum (THA) 66 74 71, Jamel Ondo 72 66 73
212 - Wittawat Sae-Ung (THA) 73 67 72
213 - Jay Bayron (PHI) 73 72 68
214 - Marvin Dumandan (PHI) 72 73 69, Ekalak Waisayakul (THA) 70 72 72, A Abrahamsyah 70 71 73
215 - Johannes Dermawan 72 73 70, Apichai Leelakajornjit (THA) 73 74 68, Tepphatud Sanawong (THA) 74 70 71, Anthony Fernando (PHI) 69 71 75
216 - Gerald Rosales (PHI) 76 70 70, S Suprapto 76 70 70, Ade Sebul 72 71 73, Airil Rizman (MAS) 73 76 67