Varut shows off his 'a' game in Samui
Thaworn Wiratchant and Miguel Tabuena showed inconsistent form while unfancied Varut Chomchalam carded a formidable 66 to share a four-way lead along with Bangladeshi Rahman Siddikur in the US$300,000 Queen's Cup Bangkok Airways-SAT Samui Golf Tournament at the Santiburi Samui Country Club yesterday.The breezy conditions at the mountainous par-71, 6,815-yard landscape saw halfway co-leaders Thaworn and the baby-faced Filipino Tabuena hit one over-par 72. The 23-year-old Varut came out of nowhere to shoot seven birdies against a double bogey for a three round total of four-under-par 209.
It was the best performance on the Asian Tour by the Bangkokian, who was one of the gold medallists in the 2007 SEA Games and 2007 World Universiade.
"I've never been in this situation before and didn't expect to be among the leaders. I drove and putted very well. I had just 25 putts,'' added the 23-year-old whose previous best
run on the Asian Tour was 12th here two years ago. Despite playing alongside Thaworn since he was nine at a home course, the Ramkamhaeng University senior admitted that there would be some nerves while playing in the final group today.
"I'm a little excited now and will be more excited tomorrow. He's a good player and has extensive experience. I will try not to expect too much and stick to my game plan,'' said Varut, who was the third-round leader and ended up winning the Singha Rayong Championship, a domestic event, last year.
Thaworn was on cloud nine when he was eight under after 13 holes but two bogeys on the 14th and 18th holes plus a double bogey on the 16th pushed him down to just four-under.
"I had only myself to blame. I didn't tee off well in the last three holes and paid the price. On this course anyone who tees off well will have good scores. I didn't do that today and I had to accept that,'' said the 47-year-old Thaworn whose tee-shot on the 16th went out of bounds. His bogey putt hit the cup of the lip and went a few feet away.
The 17-year-old Tabuena was up and down in his round, which consisted of three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on the 15th hole.
"I didn't have a good start today. I hit the green but three-putted. I hung in there but that double bogey on the 15th was a big setback. I fought back with a birdie on the next hole. I feel I still have a chance tomorrow,'' said the Filipino sensation, who is looking for his maiden Asian title after turning pro last year.
Siddikur had a birdie on the last hole to end with an even par. "I saw Thaworn and the other guys missing their shots. I think I have a good opportunity. I'll just play my own game and don't need to do anything exceptional,'' said Siddikur.
Two shots behind at joint fifth was a pack of five. American Jonathan Moore, Panuwat Muenlek, Gudio Van Der Valk of the Netherlands, Baek Seuk-hyun of South Korea and India's Anirban Lahiri, each with 211.