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Golf | Asia

Thitiphun Chuayprakong © Gallo Images

Thitiphun in the zone in Thailand



His Thai moniker means "too relaxed" but 20-year-old Thitiphun Chuayprakong was in a rush to impress on Saturday at the Thailand Golf Championship as he gave himself a sniff of final day victory.

Thitiphun, among the youngest in the star-studded Amata Spring field, posted a third round 71 to leave him 12 under par for the tournament overall, six behind South African Charl Schwartzel who he played with in the leading group.

But where Schwartzel has won a major – the US Masters in 2011 –Thitiphun is yet to record an Asian Tour win leaving the young Thai feeling the pressure of playing with the best.

"There's a bit of pressure playing with Charl Schwartzel, but today I coped with it," a smiling Thitiphun told reporters. "I was a little nervous at the first tee, but after I hit the ball the nerves were all gone."

Thitiphun has delighted the home crowd with his golf over three days, scoring 66-67-71 while Thailand's Asian Tour veterans Thaworn Wiratchant and Thongchai Jaidee have found it harder in the blazing sun.

Thitiphun is known for his mellow demeanour and goes by a Thai nickname which translates as "too relaxed", given by his parents for a habit of taking his time.

But in something of a breakthrough year he has shown he is in a hurry to make it on the Asian Tour, producing some eye-catching performances to be ranked 44th on the tour's Order of Merit, including a tied third at the Venetian Macau Open.

He enters the final day in Chonburi needing to maintain his form while hoping for a wobble from Schwartzel and Swede Daniel Chopra who sits a shot ahead of him.

But the youngster said he was confident he could win: "There's a chance (of winning)... I think Charl will not play too aggressively, but he's not going to ease up."

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