Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, January 25: Pavit Tangkamolprasert became the third golfer to top the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship leaderboard after the Thai posted a third round eight-under-par 63 for a two-shot advantage on Saturday.
Pavit shot to the summit from his tied-eighth position after bumping in nine birdies for a third round total of 19-under-par 194 to overtake overnight leader John Catlin.
Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana will keep Pavit firmly on his heels after he ended the penultimate round with a 70 to sit tied-second along with American Catlin, who finished with even par 71.
Local season campaigner Thongchai Jaidee is only three shots off Pavit in fourth after managing a 68, while the trio of Arnond Vongvanij, Andreas Gronkvist and Panuphol Pittayarat trails the leader five shots away in tied-fifth.
Pavit is aware how competitive the final round is set to play out on Sunday, but is confident he will thrive under pressure.
“I will go out to play aggressively. My confidence is high, and I am someone who likes the pressure to perform well. You have to shoot low on this course if you want to win.
“My round today (Saturday) was good. I have been driving the well this week and my iron hitting has been good. It’s all about putting well,” said Pavit.
The Bangkok-born started with a birdie, and did not let a bogey on the second hole affect him as he fired home four consecutive birdies from the third hole.
Pavit finished the front nine with six birdies, and went on to notch another three for the slender lead.
If the 30-year-old manages to hold on to his advantage, he will follow in the tradition of becoming yet another Thai name to etch his name on the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship.
Phiphatphong Naewsuk, Danthai Boonma, Namchok Tantipokhakul and Itthipat Buranatanyarat have all triumphed in the past.
Catlin still believes he has an opportunity to change that if he can play well on Sunday.
The American fumbled with a triple bogey on the fourth hole which took some momentum off his game.
“It was unfortunate the ball hit a tree and bounced off into a cluster of tress. Other than that it was okay. There is plenty of chances to make birdies (on Sunday), I just got to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Catlin.