Saturday, September 20, 2014
Smith charges ahead
AUSTRALIAN newcomer Cameron Smith snatched a one- shot lead from Thai duo Chapchai Nirat and Sattaya Supupramai after a bruising third round at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters at the Seri Selangor Golf Club yesterday.
Smith, the 2013 Australian Amateur Champion, battled to an even par 71 which included three bogeys over his closing four holes to put himself in position for a maiden Asian Tour victory with a three-day aggregate of eight-under 205.
Big-hitting Chapchai, a three-time winner but not since 2009, shot a 69 while Sattaya moved into contention with a 68 which included six birdies and two dropped shots over his last three holes at the RM1.3 million event.
An ailing overnight leader Anirban Lahiri of India strug gled to a 76 which included two closing double bogeys and ended a tough day three shots behind Smith.
The best placed Malaysian’s are bunched at tied 38th, on two over 215 total.
Danny Chia and Hans Jamil returned 73s yesterday, while Khor Kheng Hwai had a 72.
Current Order of Merit leader David Lipsky of the United States kept himself in the hunt for a second title in three weeks with a battling 69 which left him two back alongside Australian Jake Higginbottom andTaiwan’s Hung Chien- yao.
The 21-year-old Smith led into the final round of the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters in April before settling for tied second place behind Lahiri. The Aussie is determined to go one better at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.
“I’ve been in this position a couple of times now. Hopefully I can close the deal. I need to stay patient and stick to my game plan. With a bit of luck, hopefully I can win,” said Smith.
Two back at the start of the day, Smith looked menacing, holing a birdie on 11 and another 25-foot eagle on 13 to surge ahead of the pack. He three putted the 15th hole for bogey and errant shots on 16 and 18 led to further shots.
“I played pretty good but it was a disappointing finish. That’s golf. It was pretty tough out there and I didn’t putt that well ... no one to blame except myself. I’m going to relax and do some putting in my room,” he said.
The 30-year-old Sattaya hopes to build on his recent victory on the Asian Development Tour as he searches for a career breakthrough.
“I’ve won on the ADT and I’ve gained confidence from there. Playing on the Asian Tour is slightly different because there are so many good players,” he said.