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SINGAPORE – Chawalit Plaphol increased his lead to six shots at the Mercedes-Benz Masters Singapore after shooting a 6-under 66 in the third round, his best of the week.
201 – Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 67 68 66
207 – Panuphol Pittayarat (THA) 68 73 66
210 – Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 75 70 65, Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 71 72 67, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 70 70 70, Scott Barr (AUS) 70 67 73
211 – Zaw Moe (MYR) 70 69 72
212 – Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 73 69 70, Haziq Hamizan (MAS) 71 71 70
213 – Choengchai Panpumpo (THA) 70 70 73
214 – Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 76 70 68, Nakul Vichitryuthasastr (THA) 72 70 72, Tepphatud Sanawong (THA) 70 72 72, Khor Kheng Hwai (MAS) 70 71 73, Mars Pucay (PHI) 70 70 74
215 – Panuwat Muenlek (THA) 75 70 70, Passamet Pogamnerd (THA) 71 74 70, Justin Han (SIN) 71 73 71, Ronnachai Jamnong (THA) 69 74 72, Quincy Quek (SIN) 72 71 72
The Thai moved to 15-under-par 201 for three rounds Friday at Laguna National Golf and Country Club and is positioned to secure his second Mercedes-Benz Tour title of the year. The final round was scheduled for Saturday.
Compatriot Panuphol Pittayarat, 17, is in second after also carding a 66.
Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing rallied into contention with a 65 and is tied for third with defending champion Mardan Mamat, Australian Scott Barr and Thai Pavit Tangkamolprasert. They are nine shots behind Chawalit.
Chawalit has made just two bogeys in three rounds. One of those came Friday, but he more than compensated with seven birdies. He made four birdies on the trot from the first hole.
“I feel no pressure,” said Chawalit, who has led since round one. “The past few months have been great for me. I feel like a different player.”
At the Singha E-san Open in July, he also led going into the final round, but hopes to do one better this time. The 35-year-old was overtaken on the final day by countryman Thaworn Wiratchant.
Chawalit claimed the ICTSI Mt. Malarayat Championship in July, winning by eight strokes to emphatically announce his comeback after a poor run of form for 18 months.
He turned professional in 1996 and has recorded two wins on the Asian Tour – the 1998 Orient Masters in China and the 2006 Bangkok Airways Open. He also claimed the 2004 ANA Open on the Japan Tour.
Panuphol is continuing to make a name for himself.
The teen made eight birdies Friday; twice putting in for birdie from off the green.
“Yesterday, nothing went right. . . even though I worked really hard at it,” said Panuphol, whose father is on his bag. “So I felt I deserved it today. Everything came together.”
Lam made an eagle, six birdies and one bogey but looks too far back to add to his one tour victory (2008 Mercedes-Benz Masters Indonesia).