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Golf | Asia

Chawalit Plaphol © Gallo Images

Chawalit edges ahead of Thai logjam in Myanmar



Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol birdied the last hole to grab a one-shot lead over compatriot Kiradech Aphibarnrat after a blustery third round of the Myanmar Open on Saturday.

Chawalit signed for a four-under-par 68, his third successive round in the 60s this week, and a 15-under total of 201 to overhaul overnight leader Kiradech, who fired a 71 in the Asian Tour's season opening event.

After birdies at the first and fifth, Chawalit took the lead at the $300 000 event with a birdie at the par four 12th, the start of three-in-a-row which opened up a two-shot advantage.

However, he hit a stumbling block on the 16th where he dropped shot for only the second time this week at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club in Yangon, double-bogeying after finding the left rough at the par four to fall back into a tie with Kiradech.

The laid-back 38-year-old bounced back, though, to hole a lengthy putt for birdie at the par-five last and take a slim lead into Sunday's final round where he will seek his fourth Asian Tour title and first since the 2011 Queens Cup on home soil.

"I want to win but this golf course favours the long hitters like Kiradech. He is such a good player and I have so many other talented players trailing closely behind," the world number 438 told reporters.

"Overall I played okay except for two bad holes. But I'm happy with how I played. I followed my game plan and it seems to be working. I'm lucky I had that 15 footer birdie on the last to hold the lead."

Kiradech, who lost in a playoff last year, shot his worst round of the week after opening with a 64 and then a 67.

The former car racer, who is recovering from a thyroid problem, was optimistic about his chances of adding to his sole Asian Tour title, the 2011 Sail Open.

"You must have one bad round in four days of golf," the 23-year-old who also plays on the Japan Tour said.

"I controlled my round and was happy with a one-under. Today was quite windy so that's why you don't see many low scores," the world number 209 said.

Chapchai Nirat completed the Thai stranglehold on the Myanmar leaderboard by firing a 67 to vault up into a tie for third with Filipino Angelo Que (66).

Hawaii-born Thai Arnond Vongvanij (69) is three off the lead in joint fifth alongside Australian Darren Beck (69) and India's Rahil Gangjee (67).

LEADING THIRD-ROUND SCORES

201 – Chawalit PLAPHOL 67 66 68

202 – Kiradech APHIBARNRAT 64 67 71

203 – Chapchai NIRAT 64 72 67, Angelo QUE 69 68 66

204 – Arnond VONGVANIJ 68 67 69, Darren BECK 66 69 69, Rahil GANGJEE 71 66 67

205 – Mardan MAMAT 67 69 69, Joonas GRANBERG 65 69 71, HUNG Chien-yao 67 67 71, Thammanoon SRIROJ 69 70 66, Marcus BOTH 68 66 71

206 – Young NAM 66 73 67, Lionel WEBER 67 69 70, Mithun PERERA 71 68 67, HWANG In-choon 66 70 70, Berry HENSON 70 68 68, Danny CHIA 68 70 68

207 – BAEK Seuk-hyun 67 68 72, David LUTTERUS 70 67 70, Thaworn WIRATCHANT 71 67 69, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA 66 67 74, Quincy QUEK 71 69 67

208 – Tim STEWART 71 70 67, Dodge KEMMER 69 71 68, Daisuke KATAOKA 74 67 67, Prom MEESAWAT 65 72 71, HU Mu 67 70 71, KIM Seng-yong 72 66 70, Himmat RAI 70 71 67

209 – Antonio LASCUNA 67 73 69, Carlos PIGEM 67 72 70, Rikard KARLBERG 67 71 71, LAM Chih Bing 70 71 68, Panuphol PITTAYARAT 70 71 68, Koichi KITAMURA 69 69 71, Frankie MINOZA 74 66 69, CHOO Tze Huang 67 70 72, Elias BERTHEUSSEN 70 69 70, Javi COLOMO 71 70 68, SIDDIKUR 73 66 70, Stephen LEWTON 69 71 69, Prayad MARKSAENG 68 72 69

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