Chapchai keep overseas challenge alive at The DGC Open -
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Chapchai keep overseas challenge alive at The DGC Open   

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Chapchai Nirat

Khel Today Bureau 

New Delhi: The vastly experienced Thai Chapchai Nirat kept the overseas challenge alive in the face of sustained Indian dominance going into the final day of The DGC Open presented by Mastercard on Saturday.

After a day interrupted by unseasonal rain and a thunderstorm warning, Chapchai (68-71-71) was in shared third place on six-under par 210 alongside Indians Honey Baisoya and Om Prakash Chouhan, and five shots behind day three leader Rashid Khan (11-under 205).

England’s Matt Killen (68-69-74) and the Philippines duo of Miguel Tabuena (68-71-72) and Justin Quiban (67-71-73) were in a tie for sixth place on five under 211 with Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng and Sadom Kaewkanjana along with Ian Snyman of South Africa sharing ninth place on four under 212s.

Chapchai, who has a long history including a phenomenal 62-62 start at the 2009 SAIL Open at the Classic course in Gurgaon that led to a world record 32-under winning total, was for a while in the lead with a string of birdies on his outbound nine but suffered a bump on the way back.

The 40-year-old had three bogeys and a double on the back nine, seemingly unsettled by the changing conditions and storm warning but two birdies in between the dropped shots kept his round on an even keel.

“My outing felt good today,” Chapchai said later. “I had a bad time on the 14th, 16th and 18th holes but also had birdies on 15 and 17 that helped. I played my tee shot on 14 and then had to stop because of the rain and when we came back after the break, it went wrong.”

Killen was in a four-way tie for third place with Baisoya, Chapchai and Chouhan but a closing bogey on 18 dropped him back to tied sixth with a two-over 74 for the day.

“It was a little bit on and off with the rain and the pins were tricky as well,” Killen said after his round. “It just made scoring tough. Also those last few holes in the rain were a little bit awkward. You don’t have all the proper rain gear with you. Like I said before this golf course demands good shots and it’s tough anyway, so when you get adverse conditions, it gets tricker.

“It was a rough start with bogeys on two and three. I played into some awkward spots, they are tricky holes anyway and you hit it in a bad place and it makes it even tougher. But came back well with birdies on eight and nine. After that I was kind of hanging in there and sadly dropped a couple (of shots) near the end there, but I’m still in an OK position.”

Defending champion Nitithorn Thippong (67-70-82) had a day to forget, plummeting from a share of second place all the way down to tied 52nd with a 10-over par round of 82 that included eight bogeys and a double against no birdies and nine pars.

Still, the young Thai managed to summon a smile at the end and a “this can happen in golf, let’s see how it goes tomorrow.”

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