Singapore’s Mardan Mamat kept Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant at bay as he birdied his last hole to take the outright third round lead with a six-under-par 66 at the US$500,000 King’s Cup yesterday.
Thaworn, a 15-time Asian Tour winner, signalled his intent to capture his second Order of Merit crown by storming home with four birdies in his closing five holes to stay one back off Mardan with a three-day total of 16-under-par 200 at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club.
Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavadikul remained on course for his second Asian Tour win when he returned with a 66 to take third place while Spanish rookie Javi Colomo signed for a 65 to share fourth place with Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij, Piya Swangarunporn and defending champion Udorn Duangdecha on 202.
Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang was a shot further along with Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand and Australia’s Wade Ormsby.
It was the battle of the 45-year-olds as Mardan and Thaworn hogged the limelight.
Mardan knew that he had to remain calm after he could only manage to make the turn in one-under.
“I tried to be patient in my front-nine and then I started off well with two birdies in my back-nine. That gave me lots of confidence,” Mardan said.
The Singaporean is well aware of Thaworn’s title credentials.
“It’s going to be tough to beat this old guy here. So if you can get a one-stroke advantage, you got to take it because he can shoot a low number anytime,” Mardan said.
Trailing overnight leader Supakorn Utaipat of Thailand by four shots, Thaworn showed that he can never be written off as he continued his charge for his fourth Asian Tour win this season as well as the Order of Merit title which he first won in 2005.
“It will be a close fight till the end but I’m feeling confident. I’ve been in this position many times and I know how to handle the pressure,” Thaworn said.
The King’s Cup is making its return after a year’s absence following the floods in Thailand last year.
Additional reporting by staff writer