Pattaya, Thailand, December 21: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattanond stormed up the leaderboard with a sensational 11-under-par 60 to take a one-shot lead over Belgium’s Thomas Detry after the third round of the season-ending Thailand Masters on Saturday.
After rounds of 69 and 67 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club, Jazz finally shook off his lethargy to find himself in a familiar position atop the leaderboard again with his three-day total of 17-under-par 196.
Detry remained in outright second place for the second consecutive day after he returned with a 66 while overnight leader Phachara Khongwatmai slipped to third place with a 69.
American Sihwan Kim signed for a 66 to head into the final round in fourth place while Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena made his move by returning with a 65 to share fifth place with the Thai trio of Gunn Charoenkul, Panuphol Pittayarat and Suteepat Prateeptienchai.
Playing in his last event for the year, Jazz roared back to life just like how he did in Jakarta last weekend.
The 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion started the day six shots off the pace in tied-19th place but flew under the radar very quickly when he birdied the second hole before going on a seven-hole birdie blitz starting from the par-four six.
The 24-year-old lit up his card again with another birdie on 15 before play was suspended for close to two hours due to lightning activities.
When it resumed, Jazz birdied 16 and 17 before signing off for the day with a par on 18.
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Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) Third round 60 (-11) Total 196 (-17)
I didn’t even know my score until I walked into the score recording area. I was wondering why everyone was asking me if I had birdied the last hole until I realized I was just one shot away from a 59. To be honest, my mind was pretty blank even when I sank birdie after birdie. I knew I was playing good and my putting was good. I just know I needed to hit onto the green and my putter will take care of everything else. I didn’t expect my round to be so good as I’m really tired. I was struggling to finish in my first two rounds. Luckily play was suspended for a while today and I managed to get some rest. It’s my last event of the year and I’ll just give it my best tomorrow.
Thomas Detry (Bel) Third round 66 (-5) Total 197 (-16)
My round is pretty average compared to Jazz. I saw his name creeping up the leaderboard and he was unbelievable. He was just one shot short of 59. I played pretty good but it could have been better. I think tomorrow’s going to be a big day. I beat Jazz twice in the first two days and I’m planning on beating him again tomorrow. He’s a great player and a really nice guy and it will be a fun battle tomorrow. But there are still several other good players around and I’m sure lots of things will happen tomorrow.
Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) Third round 69 (-2) Total 199 (-14)
On the front-nine, I missed just a little bit with my driver and got very bad lies, and then Istruggled a little bit with my putter. It was very tough with the pin positions today. I missed on the bad side, and then it was difficult to make birdies. But it’s ok I had a good finish with two birdies in the last three holes. Tomorrow, my key is just my putting. If I make a lot of putts, maybe I have a chance. But I just need to play my own game and not think too far ahead.
Miguel Tabuena (Phi) Third round 65 (-6) Total 201 (-12)
To be honest, I’m not surprised with the way Jazz has played today. We are so used to seeing his name on the top of the leaderboard and today was no different. It’s pretty crazy with the kind of golf he’s playing now. He’s number one on the Order of Merit for a reason. But for me, I’m pretty happy with how I got myself back into this tournament. Anything can happen in golf and it depends on how they set up the pin positions tomorrow too. I’m still in contention and hopefully something special can happen.
Pattaya, Thailand, December 20: Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai knows he has to continue to stay patient after carding a second round seven-under-par 64 to hold a one-shot lead over Belgium’s Thomas Detry at the season-ending Thailand Masters on Friday.
While he has yet to achieve his breakthrough on the Asian Tour, the 20-year-old Thai remains optimistic of his chances as he is coming into the week on the back of a rich vein of form with three top-six finishes in his last three events.
Starting his round on the 10th hole, Phachara stormed off the blocks quickly with two birdies in his opening three holes. He added another birdie on 16 before storming home with four more birdies to sign for a two-day total of 12-under-par 130 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
Overnight leader Detry beat fatigue to remain in contention by returning with a 68 to take second place while Thai rookie Kosuke Kamamoto also put himself in the mix by matching Phachara’s 64 for outright third place.
Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-hsuan showed his promising talent when he carded a 67 to make his move up the leaderboard in the morning.
Wang turned professional only this year and showed he could be one of the rising stars to look out as he heads into the weekend tied for fourth.
The weekend cut was set at two-under-par with 84 players progressing into the final two rounds.
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Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) Second round 64 (-7) Total 130 (-12)
I was very focused the last two days. I told myself not to get distracted and just concentrate on my game. Even when I made a mistake, I told myself to just forget it and move on. Just play better on the next hole. I’ve my friends and family with me this week and that’s important. They cheer me and I feel very motivated. I try not to think about winning yet although I know I’m in a good position now. Most important is to stay focused again this weekend and hopefully, something good will happen.
Thomas Detry (Bel) Second round 68 (-3) Total 131 (-11)
Although I finished with a bogey, I’m still in a very good position heading into the weekend rounds. I have not been feeling too well and I got tired towards the end of my round. But I’m still happy with the way I finished. I was one-under at one point but managed to make some birdies to lift myself up back into the game again. I’m going to have a good night sleep now and be fresh for the weekend.
Kosuke Hamamoto (Tha) Second round 64 (-7) Total 132 (-10)
It’s really nice to see my name up there on the leaderboard especially after missing the cut in Jakarta last week. Ball striking wise, there was not much difference but I did well with my putter. I actually forgot to bring my original putter to the course this week but I managed to find one at the back of my car and my caddie just asked me to try that putter. Once I tried it, I felt good and I’ve been using that putter ever since. Even though I’ve not won anything yet, I’m very pleased with my consistency. I just want to do my best for this week and let the rest take care of it by itself.
Wang Wei-hsuan (Tpe) Second round 67 (-4) Total 133 (-9)
I just turned professional this year and it has been a huge learning curve so far. I’m happy with how I’ve played so far and it’s good when you have a chance to play against some very good players in the field this week. I’m playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week and want to make good use of this opportunity. I want to benchmark myself against these good players and see where my game stands. So far, it has been very good.
Haydn Porteous (Rsa) Second round 66 (-5) Total 134 (-8)
This is my first time in Thailand and I’m loving every minute of it. Everything has been very well organized and the weather’s awesome. And obviously playing good golf here also helps. It has been a tough couple of seasons for me. It has been really slow but I’m slowly but surely finding back my game. It’s really pleasing to see my name up there for now. When Thongchai askes you to come, it’s really really hard to turn a nice guy like him down. I’m going to spend Christmas and New Year in Thailand.
Pattaya, Thailand, December 20: Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-hsuan showed his promising talent when he carded a second round four-under-par 67 to make his move up the leaderboard at the season-ending Thailand Masters on Friday.
The 20-year-old turned professional only this year and showed he could be one of the rising stars of the game to look out for if he continues to play to his full potential.
With an eye on earning his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School next month, Wang is keeping his focus on getting a good result at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club first.
“I just turned professional this year and it has been a huge learning curve so far. I’m happy with how I’ve played so far and it’s good when you have a chance to play against some very good players in the field this week.
“I’m playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week and want to make good use of this opportunity. I want to benchmark myself against these good players and see where my game stands. So far, it has been very good,” said Wang.
South Africa’s Haydn Porteous also ensured he would head into the weekend rounds in the mix after signing for a 66.
Porteous is searching for his first win since 2017 and is pleased to see glimpses of his old form returning.
“This is my first time in Thailand and I’m loving every minute of it. And obviously playing good golf here also helps. It has been a tough couple of seasons for me. It has been really slow but I’m slowly but surely finding back my game. It’s really pleasing to see my name up there for now,” said Porteous.
Pattaya, Thailand, December 19: Belgium’s Thomas Detry took the early honours by opening with an eight-under-par 63 to grab the first round lead at the season-ending Thailand Masters on Thursday.
Detry, who is enjoying his week away home where the harsh winter conditions are hitting, sprinted towards the turn with three birdies on holes 10, 13 and 16 in his starting back-nine 10.
The Belgian then continued his birdie blitz on holes one, three, six, seven and nine to return with a bogey-free 63 for a one-shot lead over Thailand’s Settee Prakongvech at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
Prakongvech, who is currently in 93rd place on the Order of Merit, knows he needs a very good result to move inside the top-61 place and secure his card for next season.
It is the last chance saloon for the 25-year-old as he is determined to close the year with a grandstand finish in front of his friends and family.
American Berry Henson signed for a 65 to restore some much needed confidence after only securing one top-10 this year in Korea.
Henson mixed his card with seven birdies and one bogey to stay two shots back of Detry together with Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul in tied-third place.
Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai, who is chasing his Asian Tour breakthrough this week, posted a 65, trailing Detry by three shots in a share of fifth place which also included Indonesia’s Rory Hie.
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Thomas Detry (Bel) First round 63 (-8)
It’s beautiful to be here in Thailand as the weather’s pretty horrible back home. It gets dark at 3.30 in the afternoon and the sun is up at 10 and we get so much rain and wind. The course is in great condition and Thongchai is taking good care of me. I’m having a blast so far. I’m not getting ahead of myself as there’s still three more rounds to go and there are lots of good players here. The strength of the field is good and I just have to stay patient. And if I keep playing like that for the next three days, I’ll have a good chance. This week is also very much like a holiday and I guess it helps to keep myself relaxed while having fun at the same time.
Settee Prakongvech (Tha) First round 64 (-7)
It was a good round and I hit and putted the ball really well. I know this is my last chance to secure my Asian Tour card and I hope something good will come my way this week. I need a really big finish, maybe finishing inside the top-three or win. But anything can happen in golf and I’m hopeful of miracles.
Berry Henson (Usa) First round 65 (-6)
I cannot complain as my goal was to shoot five-under today. I got to six but I didn’t really feel like a six-under round. I got a few good breaks, made some bad putts that went in. So it was kind of a sneaky 65 today, but I’ll take it anytime. I only had one top-10 this year but I did also play some decent golf this year. I made some adjustments to my game and I’m trying to get ready for next season. I had a couple of new clubs in the bag and just trying to build the confidence again. It has been quite low recently and I’m trying to get back that self-belief. But things are moving in the right direction and if I can continue doing that in the next few days, it will great for my game.
Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) First round 66 (-5)
My tee shots were very good today and if I can find the same feeling I have with my driver for my putter, it’ll be awesome. I just need to stay focus each day and hopefully the result will come. I had several top-10s in my last few events and I can feel my form is coming back. I want to get my first win on the Asian Tour.
Rory Hie (Ina) First round 66 (-5)
It’s nice to know you’re playing well again. I’ve been suffering from pain in my thumb for almost a month and I’m on painkillers now. I’m happy they took away the pain from me today and I could play. I took a pretty heavy dose of painkillers. The win in India and how I’ve played in the second half of 2019 just proved to me that I can pursue golf as a profession. If I can continue to bring my second half form over to 2020, I believe I can climb even higher up the rankings.
Pattaya, Thailand, December 18: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond paid tribute to his country’s golfing legend Thongchai Jaidee for playing an instrumental role in his success as he prepares to tee off in his last event of 2019 at the Thailand Masters which starts on Thursday.
Jazz has enjoyed a sensational season when kicked started the year with a win in Singapore followed by two more other significant victories in Korea and Indonesia last week.
The 24-year-old deservedly sealed the Order of Merit crown as he could not be caught on the money list even with three events left to play at the start of this month.
Just like how he started the year, the Thai is looking for one last hurrah at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club before he takes a well-deserved break.
Compatriot Gunn Charoenkul, who watched in awe as Jazz outclassed him in Jakarta last week, believes a switch in his outlook towards his game and life has led to a very consistent year for him in 2019 as he looks towards closing his season on a high note.
Belgium’s Thomas Detry, who is one of the invited star players for this week, is also seeking a grandstand finish after missing out on his chance to win in two of his last three events.
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