9th November 2019 | Asian Tour
Chawrasia seizes share of lead with Martin at the Thailand Open
Chachoengsao, Thailand, November 9: Indian stalwart S.S.P. Chawrasia made his return to the Thai Country Club after 12 years a memorable one by grabbing a share of the lead with Australia’s Andrew Martin following the penultimate round of the Thailand Open on Saturday.
The playing partners, who started the day trailing by one, posted matching three-under-par 68s to seize a one-shot advantage over local amateur Natthaphat Harnchokchaiskul with their three-day total of 10-under-par 203s at the Thai Country Club.
Despite slipping out of the lead for the first time this week, Natthaphat held his head high after registering a second straight 70 as he stays on track to become the first amateur winner on the Asian Tour since 2009 at the US$300,000 event.
The 41-year-old Chawrasia, playing in only his fifth start on Tour this season, is chasing for his seventh victory while Martin, 35, is eyeing a breakthrough on the region’s premier Tour. The last foreigner to win the Kingdom’s National Open is Korea’s K.T. Kim in 2015.
Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai and American John Catlin carded identical 69s to settle three shots off the pace in fourth place with young Thai Suradit Yongcharoenchai (70), who secured his maiden Asian Tour win in Chinese Taipei last month.
The Thailand Open marks the start of the Asian Tour’s 2019/20 Panasonic Swing, which is a ranking based on an aggregate point race that spans five events with the final top-three players chasing a share of a lucrative bonus pool.
Did you know?
- Andrew Martin is playing in his fifth start on Tour this season. His best result is a tied-20th place finish at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth in February.
- The 35-year-old Australian came through the 2018 Qualifying School but failed to retain his card after finishing in 63rd place on the Order of Merit. He missed the cut-off mark by two rungs.
- Martin’s wife is on his bag this week. Martin needed only 26 putts in his round of 68 today. He is ranked third in the Greens in Regulations category with an average of 1.59 putts per GIR. He has also found 78.58% of fairways this week to sit in tied-eight position in that stats category.
- Prior to his Qualifying School attempt, Martin has enjoyed a tied-eighth place finish at the 2017 Indonesia Open for his first top-10 result on the Asian Tour. He claimed two other top-10 results in China and Fiji last year.
- Martin finished tied-seventh in his last event, the Victorian PGA Championship two weeks ago on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
- He also had a sixth-place finish at the Tailor-made Building Services NT PGA Championship in August on the same tour.
- Martin enjoyed his best-career season in 2012 where he notched two tied-second finishes in his home country.
- S.S.P. Chawrasia is a six-time Asian Tour winner. He is playing in his fifth start on Tour this season. It is also the first time in 12 years that Chawrasia is playing at the Thai Country Club.
- The 41-year-old Indian, who sits in 64th place on the current Order of Merit, needs a good showing this week to try and break into top-60 at the end of the season to keep his card for 2020. It’s the final year of exemption for Chawrasia since he won twice on Tour in 2016 and another title in 2017.
- Chawrasia turned professional in 1997. He picked up the game at the age of 10. The self-taught golfer is nicknamed ‘Chipputtsia’ because of his superb short game.
- He had successfully defended his title at the 2017 Hero Indian Open for his sixth Asian Tour victory. He is only the third player in the tournament’s history to win back-to-back titles.
- Chawrasia has been plying his trade mainly on the European Tour for the past few years.
- Chawrasia has hit 75.92% of Greens in regulation this week and is ranked tied-fifth in that stats category. He found 80.95% of fairways to sit in tied-sixth place in that category.
- Natthaphat Harnchokchaiskul is a member of the Thai Golf Association. The 19-year-old is playing in his first Asian Tour event and his first Thailand Open this week.
- He used to be a member of the Thailand Junior Golf Federation where he had won several Class A events before graduating two years ago. Natthaphat picked up the game when he was nine years old.
- Natthaphat, who hails from Bangkok, was the last man in for the 2019 Thailand Open. He only received his entry confirmation from the Thai Golf Association on Sunday night.
- A win for Natthaphat tomorrow would see him become the first amateur to win a full-field Asian Tour event since Chinnarat Phadungsil won the Double A International Open in 2005, and the first in any event since Danny Lee won the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic.
- Natthaphat used to watch Prom Meesawat play from outside the ropes when he was young. Today, they were paired in the same group for the first time ever.
- Natthaphat’s childhood swing teacher is on his bag for him this week. His father and his current coach also came out to watch him play today.
- Natthaphat is tied for lead in the Greens in regulation category this week with an average of 77.78%.