Bangladesh’s Siddikur remains confident of ending of his three-year title drought on the Asian Tour after he snatched the third round lead with a four-under-par 67 at the THB 9.6 million (approximately US$312,000) Queen’s Cup on Saturday.
Despite the overwhelming support for home favourites at the Santiburi Samui Country Club, the 28-year-old Bangladeshi stamped his authority by taking a slender one-shot lead over Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng with his three-day total of 11-under-par 202.
Prayad was left to rue a costly triple-bogey seven on the 14th hole as that cost him the lead and slipped him to second place on 203.
Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand signed for a 68 to take third place while India’s Anirban Lahiri stayed on course for his first win outside India when he took fourth place with a 67.
After finishing tied-second at the Queen’s Cup last year, Siddikur is determined to better that result and he meant business by opening his round strongly with two birdies in his first three holes.
He dropped two shots on holes six and seven but bounced back with another birdie on the ninth.
The Bangladeshi bogeyed the 10th but responded quickly again with another birdie on the 11th.
Three birdies in his closing four holes then lifted him to pole position on the leaderboard.
“I’ve been playing well on this course but just didn’t finish it off well. I came in second last year and I’m looking for that win tomorrow,” said Siddikur.
“I’ve been playing for a long time and I don’t feel any pressure. I’m feeling very comfortable about my game and I’m just looking forward to the final 18 holes,” added Siddikur, who holds the honour of being the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour when he earned his career breakthrough in Brunei in 2010.
Meanwhile Prayad knows he had to produce a more consistent performance on the final day if he wants to tame the beast of Santiburi Samui Country Club.
The 47-year-old has come close to winning with three top-three finishes. However, it is still that victory which has eluded him since the Queen’s Cup made its debut on the Asian Tour in 2009.
Prayad opened convincingly with three birdies on the trot but was set back by bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes.
He mixed two more birdies against one bogey in his next four holes to turn in 34.
The six-time Asian Tour winner held a two-shot advantage after carding another birdie on the 12th hole.
A disastrous triple-bogey seven on the 14th hole however put paid to his hopes of heading into Sunday with the lead.
“I’ll have to do better. It was a roller-coaster day for me and on the 14th, I misjudged my shots and made a real mess out of it,” said Prayad.
“There’s still 18 holes left to play and hopefully I can turn this around,” added Prayad.
Despite trailing Siddikur by two shots, Arnond remains upbeat about winning his second Asian Tour title.
The Thai found himself in similar position when he earned his career breakthrough on home soil last year and will be banking on that experience again to secure another victory on the region’s premier Tour.
“I was not leading during King’s Cup and I was just focused on doing my best. And here again, I’m not leading so I’m just going to use that to my advantage and take the pressure off,” said the 24-year-old.
Lahiri is delighted that he is finding his form again with his short putter. The Indian is also excited that he has a chance to hoist his first title on foreign land after enjoying three Asian Tour wins at home.
“I’m happy that I’ve found my rhythm. I’m playing well and hitting the ball good. It’s my first week back with my short putter and that’s a very big positive for me,” said Lahiri.
“I’ve been coming here for the last five years and I’m starting to feel very comfortable here. I’ve learnt how to navigate this tough course,” added the Indian.
Sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Thailand PGA, the Queen’s Cup is held in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Sirikit and is one of four tournaments in Thailand to feature on the Asian Tour, which is celebrating its milestone 10th season after establishing itself as a players’ organisation in 2004.
The weekend rounds of the Queen’s Cup will be broadcast live on True Sport and will also feature on the Asian Tour Golf and Highlights show.
Queen’s Cup Bangkok Airways – SAT Samui Golf Tournament 2013 is mainly sponsored by Bangkok Airways, Sports Authority of Thailand, Santiburi Samui Country Club, Bangkok Hospital Group, PTT Co.,Ltd, Bangkok Bank, Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group, Tourism Authority of Thailand and co-sponsored by Four Seasons Resort, Samui Palm Beach Resort and Intercontinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam.
Leading scores after round 3 of the Queen's Cup Bangkok Airways - SAT Samui Golf Tourn being played at the par 71, 6791 Yards Santiburi GC course (a- denotes amateur):
202 - SIDDIKUR (BAN) 66-69-67.
203 - Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 71-64-68.
204 - Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 69-67-68.
205 - Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 71-67-67.
206 - Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 68-68-70.
207 - Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 72-64-71, Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 65-68-74.
208 - HSU Mong-nan (TPE) 70-70-68, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 71-68-69, Martin ROMINGER (SUI) 69-69-70, Stephen LEWTON (ENG) 70-68-70, Tetsuji HIRATSUKA (JPN) 71-67-70.
209 - Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 69-70-70, Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 71-68-70, Quincy QUEK (SIN) 71-67-71.
210 - Berry HENSON (USA) 72-67-71, Danny CHIA (MAS) 65-72-73.
212 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 72-70-70.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf