Golf: Chan Shih-chang, Sihwan Kim step up in Asian Tour Phuket event entering final day

BANGKOK (AFP) – Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang and America’s Sihwan Kim share the clubhouse lead after sneaking two strokes ahead of the field on day three of the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship on Saturday (Nov 27).

The pair are 14-under 202 overall after both carding four-under 68 and hitting five birdies on a sunny day’s play.

Kim, who has been playing mostly in Europe this year and is looking for his first victory on the Asian Tour, said the warm conditions had required a bit of an adjustment.

“It feels kind of weird playing in this weather, being so humid and hot,” he said.

“Tomorrow I just need to keep it in the fairway and make some putts. Being in the fairway is key on this golf course.”

The US$1 million (S$1.37 million) tournament on the popular holiday island of Phuket marks the first Asian Tour tee-off since a 20-month coronavirus pandemic disruption.

After Friday’s round, the field was cut from 144 to 74. Singaporean Koh Deng Shan was among those who missed the one-under cut. He had rounds of 75 and 69 for a 144 total.

Chan, ranked 1,366 in the world, is hoping for his first win on the Asian Tour in five years.

“Thailand is my lucky country,” he said, referring to his King’s Cup victory in 2016.

The 35-year-old held the outright lead for much of the back nine but made a bogey on the 16th – his first dropped shot in 51 holes.

“I think that’s a personal record for myself,” he said.

After a stellar performance on Friday, Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana stayed in contention with three birdies in the back half after a nervous start with a double bogey and a bogey.

The 23-year-old is third on the leaderboard after his 72.

“I didn’t hit my driver good on the front nine today… Felt great to fight back to even-par. I still have a chance tomorrow,” he said.

The Laguna Phuket Championship will be held next week.

Tied for fourth on 205 are Australian Scott Hend (65), South Korean Kim Joo-hyung (69) and American John Catlin (72).

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