Thai young gun Varanyu extends lead at Singha Laguna Phuket Open

Sat 12 May 2018

Thai young gun Varanyu extends lead at Singha Laguna Phuket Open

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Phuket, May 12: Thailand’s Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij extended his lead by eight shots after shooting a one-under-par 69 in the third round of the Singha Laguna Phuket Open on Saturday.


The 21-year-old Thai, who has led since round one, put himself in prime position for his first professional win. He leads on 18-under-par 192 at the award-winning Laguna Phuket course.

New Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner Nitithorn Thippong of Thailand, who was victorious last week, posted a 70 to sit in second place while Mathiam Keyser of South Africa returned with a 68 for third place, nine shots back of the leader.

Pawin Ingkhapradit registered a 67 for fourth place in a leaderboard which was mostly dominated by Thai golfers in the event sanctioned by the ADT and the All Thailand Golf Tour.   

Varanyu played superbly in the first two rounds but he struggled with his tee shots and a cold putter in a round of two birdies against one bogey.

“I was struggling with my drives today and hitting it left and right. I couldn’t make any birdies in the first nine too so when I made the 15-footer for birdie on hole 10 I was very relieved. I hit a really good approach on hole 14 with my five-iron but I missed the five-footer for eagle. Overall my putting was not as good today,” said Varanyu.

“I think hole 16 was a tough hole because the pin position today was crazy. It was right behind a bunker so you had to hit it to the middle of the green and play it safe. I hit my shot left of the green and duffed my first chip, so I had to two-putt from off the green,” added the Thai who is nicknamed ‘Bank’.

Nitithorn was disappointed not to close the gap on his compatriot Varanyu after trading three birdies against as many bogeys. The young Thai currently sits in third place on the ADT Order of Merit and hopes to cement his position with a solid result on Sunday.

“A lot of the pins today were on slopes and I had to play it safe and hit it to the middle of the green a lot. I struggled with my driver today too and I only made six fairways,” said the 21-year-old Thai.

Nitithorn will apply the same game plan which helped him to victory on the ADT in Malaysia last week.  

“I enjoyed playing and watching Bank today. He played so well and I am happy to be playing with him in the final group tomorrow. I just need to think like how I did last week and make as many pars as I can and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow,” added the Thai.

Thailand’s Phanuvich Onchu had reason to celebrate after acing the eighth hole from 188 yards with a six-iron. He returned with a round of 70 but his hole-in-one earned him a bottle of wine, a two-night stay at Cassia Hotel and a complimentary round of golf at Laguna Golf Phuket.

The Singha Laguna Phuket Open is the eighth leg of the 2018 ADT. Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on all ADT events with the winner earning a total of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.

The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2019 season.

Ends.

Leading Round Three scores:

192 - Varanyu RATTANAPHIBOONKIJ (THA) 62 61 69

200 - Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 64 66 70

201 - Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 66 67 68

202 - Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 66 69 67

204 - Worrasorn SUWANPANANG (THA) 68 67 69

205 - Kasidit LEPKURTE (THA) 75 66 64, Kwanchai TANNIN (THA) 69 68 68, Hein SITHU (MYN) 68 68 69, John Michael O'TOOLE (USA) 65 71 69, Oscar ZETTERWALL (SWE) 64 67 74

About Laguna Golf Phuket

Laguna Golf Phuket is an 18-hole, par 71 golf course situated in the heart of Asia’s first integrated resort – Laguna Phuket, conveniently accessible by complimentary shuttle service from the surrounding hotels. Thoroughly redesigned and reopened in 2015, the new landscaping with great emphasis on natural surroundings and wildlife provides golfers a whole new golfing experience. During the game, a tranquil journey into the native cultural experience with infused local elements creates a unique sense of place. The Thai villa design clubhouse offers a host of luxury facilities, including a well-stocked Pro Shop and international dining option. The course also features Southeast Asia’s first PGA-branded golf academy, offering a holistic learning experience by PGA instructors with a wide range of teaching packages, and extensive practice facilities including dedicated swing rooms with Trackman video analysis, as well as a purpose-built fitness studio with private sessions designed to improve your performance on the course.

About Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.