Friday, March 16, 2012


Siem Reap, Cambodia: South Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung overcame searing heat to pull one shot clear of Irishman Niall Turner in the third round of the inaugural HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic today.
The 31-year-old Kim, the joint overnight leader, battled to a four-under-par 68 at a sun-baked Angkor Golf Resort to lead on 15-under-par 201 in the US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament which is the fifth leg of the 2012 season.
Turner, pictured, stayed hot on his playing partner’s heels with five birdies against a lone bogey for a 68 as the top duo continued their chase for a maiden victory on the Asian Tour.
Filipino Elmer Salvador reeled in four straight birdies after the turn for a 68 and a share of third place, four off the lead, alongside talented Thai Thanyakon Khrongpha, who also carded a 68. India’s newcomer Ajeetesh Sandhu stayed on the fringe of contention with a bogey-free 69 leaving him on 206 with first round leader Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea (69).
Kim, playing in his first tournament of the year after spending several weeks at the Butch Harmon Academy in the United States, was delighted to be in the driver’s seat.
“I feel good about tomorrow and I’ll need to keep my focus which is tough. It’s so hot out there,” said Kim, who is a three-time winner on the Korean circuit.
The good-looking Korean hit 16 greens in regulation but lamented the fact that he missed numerous birdie chances which led to 30 putts during his round. “Everything is working but I was missing many putts from around nine or 10 feet. The greens are bit grainy which makes it hard for me,” said Kim.
“I’m just going to enjoy my game tomorrow and try to keep the ball in play. Two years ago, I was leading into the last day in Japan but I didn’t win. My shoulder wasn’t good at that time but I’m now fully fit.”
Turner, 28, kept pace with the leader as they matched each other birdie for birdie.
“I was trying to catch him (Kim) all day. He played great. If he plays the same tomorrow it’ll be hard to catch him. We kind of pushed each other. He would make a birdie and I would make a birdie. It was an enjoyable round,” said Turner, who is playing in his second season in Asia.
“I played really well again and hit a lot of close iron shots … four of the five birdies were tap ins. Look forward to tomorrow being in the hunt. It’s easy to enjoy the game when you’re hitting it good and putting well. It’s pretty exciting. Hope it continues tomorrow.”
The slender Thanyakon knows he needs a herculean effort to overcome a four-shot deficit. He will be counting on his putts to drop in the final round, just as he did with a 50-foot monster on the 15th hole.
“I was lucky on 15,” he said. “I have to do better tomorrow to have a chance. My game is feeling good. I’ve dropped only one bogey in three days, in today’s round, so it’s been good,” said the 21-year-old Thai.
“I won’t be nervous. I’ll be just thinking of putting on a good score.”
Salvador came to prominence at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic last year when he came from five shots back on the last day to force his way into a five-man play-off which was eventually won by India’s Himmat Rai. The Filipino will be hoping for a similar comeback tomorrow but with a happier ending.
“I had a good putting day and started holing those putts from the 10th green (for four straight birdies). However, my iron play and driving were not good. I was scrambling around and luckily my putting saved me,” he said.
Angkor Golf Resort
Par 216 (3x72). Yardage 7,279
201 - KIM Hyung-sung (KOR) 68-65-68.
202 - Niall TURNER (IRL) 67-67-68.
205 - Elmer SALVADOR (PHI) 68-69-68, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 71-66-68.
206 - Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) 69-68-69, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 66-71-69.
207 - Dodge KEMMER (USA) 70-69-68.
208 - David LIPSKY (USA) 73-68-67, Sam CYR (USA) 70-70-68, Pablo HERRERIA (ESP) 71-68-69.
209 - Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 72-69-68, Michael TRAN (VNM) 73-68-68, Hirotaro NAITO (JPN) 72-70-67, HONG Soon-sang (KOR) 69-72-68, HU Mu (CHN) 72-71-66, Guy WOODMAN (ENG) 70-69-70, Shaaban HUSSIN (MAS) 69-69-71, Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 68-70-71, Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 69-64-76.



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