Saturday, February 04, 2012


Yangon: Scott Hend of Australia kept pace in his title charge after shooting a three-under-par 69 to take a one-shot lead in the third round of the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Air Bagan today.
Hend will be on a mission of ending a three-year title drought but will need to overcome the challenge from Thai rising star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who shot a 69 for a 201 total at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.
Title-holder Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan kept his hopes of retaining the title alive when he posted a 67 to share third place with Marcus Both (68) of Australia, a two-time Asian Tour winner and Ben Fox (69) of the United States on 202 in the US$300,000 event.
The big-hitting Hend, who last won on the Asian Tour in 2008, fired a flawless round with three birdies and is not perturbed by the challenges of the chasing pack.
“It doesn’t really worry me, I’m a good player myself, why should I worry about what’s behind me? I’ll just look at what’s in front,” said Hend, who totalled 16-under-par 200.
He rued a cold putter but was delighted with his performance so far where he has shot two bogeys in three days.
“It was a bit difficult because I didn’t hole any putts. That was an opportunity gone to put some people out of the tournament and I didn’t do that. It is going to be a good day tomorrow, should be a good shoot-out so let’s see what happens,” added the 39-year-old.
Kiradech, known for his grip-it and rip-it style of play, birdied the last hole to stay within touching distance of the leader.
“I knew I needed to birdie the last hole. I didn’t want to be too far back. There’s a good chance for me now because I’m hitting the ball better,” said the Thai, who won his first Asian Tour title at the SAIL Open in India last year.
Hiratsuka, who finished second on the Order of Merit last year, birdied all the par fives in a round of seven birdies against two bogeys to give himself a chance of defending the title he won in 2010.
“Honestly, the game is not as good as the time when I won in 2010. I need to make more birdies on the shorter holes,” said Hiratsuka, who made 27 putts today.
“I need to make a lot of birdies early in the round and put some pressure on the leader. That will be the goal. I have never successfully defended a title in my career before so I hope that this will be the first,” said the four-time Asian Tour winner.
Fox, playing on his second year on the Asian Tour, remained in the hunt for his first victory in the region after shooting four birdies and one bogey in the closing six holes.
“I did a good job in the first two days to keep the bogeys out of the way. Today’s mistakes were just careless mistakes. If I take those away I’ll be tied for the lead. On this course we have seen low numbers already and there’s one still out there so we will see who goes the lowest on Sunday,” said the 24-year-old.
Par 216 (3x72) Yardage: 7,218. Royal Mingalardon GCC course
200 Scott HEND (AUS) 64-67-69.
201 Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 66-66-69.
202 Tetsuji HIRATSUKA (JPN) 69-66-67, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 68-66-68, Ben FOX (USA) 64-69-69.
204 Jonathan MOORE (USA) 70-67-67, Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN) 67-67-70.
205 Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 72-67-66, Kieran PRATT (AUS) 70-69-66.
206 PARK Hyun-bin (SKOR) 69-71-66, Adam GROOM (AUS) 71-67-68, Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 64-70-72.
207 Makoto INOUE (JPN) 72-66-69, KIM Gi-whan (SKOR) 65-72-70, Martin ROMINGER (SUI) 67-70-70, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 67-69-71, Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 68-67-72, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 65-68-74.
208 LEE Sung (SKOR) 70-70-68, Adam BLYTH (AUS) 71-68-69, BAEK Seuk-hyun (SKOR) 67-71-70, Jesper KENNEGARD (SWE) 71-63-74.

209 Stephen Lewton (England) 70 66 73 (T23).
211 Simon Griffiths (England) 67 72 72 (T38).
213 Chris Rodgers (England) 66 71 76 (T55).



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