Two spectacular eagles propelled Jakraphan Premsirigorn to a convincing 14-point lead over Filipino Justin Raphael Quiban after round three of the Bt3.45 million Thailand Mixed Stableford Challenge at the Par-73 St. Andrews 2000 in Rayong on Thursday.
Despite a sluggish start which saw him encounter a bogey within the first five holes, the Thai-Hong Kong player fired four birdies, two eagles on the 11th and 18th holes with one more bogey on the 17th hole to gain 16 points for an outstanding overall score of 47 points.
“Actually it was a bit tough due to the windy condition. I got off a bit stiff maybe because I was a bit nervous being the leader,” said the 31-year-old Jakraphan or affectionately known as “Johnny” by his family and friends.
“It was until on the 6th hole that I finally got a birdie. I tried to talk to my caddy to get relaxed. He told me to get confident and take some chances,” added Jakraphan who won the Thailand Mixed Q-School at Lake View Resort and Golf Club in March.
“But the turning point was on the 11th hole where I shot an eagle. I got my momentum from then on. For the other eagle on the 18th, I didn’t expect it. The ball just kept rolling close to the pin. Sometimes you need to have a bit of luck,” he added.
With a substantial 14-point lead over Quiban, who trailed behind with 33 points, Jakraphan will enter the final round with great confidence. The Friday’s final presents an opportunity for him to secure a significant victory, the first since his triumph in the All Thailand Golf Tour in Khon Kaen six years ago.
“I should feel more comfortable tomorrow, but I’m still as determined as usual. I will strive to maintain focus on my game, particularly on the greens, in order to create opportunities for birdies. I can’t afford to be too relaxed,” he said.
Quiban, who previously achieved two victories on a local tour in the Philippines, secured a commendable 11 points with a remarkable display of seven birdies accompanied by three bogeys.
“I had a slow start today, with only one fairway on the front nine. But luckily after the 4th hole, I managed to get back to my basic and hit three birdies. After that I felt more comfortable, hitting more fairways and greens. Eventually I made more birdies,” said the 27-year-old who posed two top five finishes on the Asian Tour in 2018 and 2022. He has yet to have a breakthrough overseas victory.
“I feel pretty confident. I feel comfortable with my swing and my putting is really good. But the leader is going to go lights out tomorrow. So I have to play good golf and lessen my expectations,” Quiban said.
Sitting 16 points off the lead was Newport Laparojkit who had a bogey free round where he shot four birdies for 8 points and a total 31.
In contrast to last week’s stroke play event, the Stableford format assigns points to players based on the number of strokes taken on each hole. Under this system, players earn points for birdies (2 per a birdie) and eagles (5 per eagle), while bogeys (-1 per bogey) and double bogeys (-3 per double bogey or more) deduct points from their totals. The player with the highest points in the four-day tournament will walk away with the title.
Live coverage of the tournament can be viewed on TrustGolf Facebook Fanpage and TrustGolf Youtube Channel from 9am onwards.
TrustGolf, an indoor training center with cutting-edge technology, has been spearheading the organization of the Thailand Mixed for three consecutive years, providing a platform for male and female players to hone their skills. The tour is supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand, National Sports Development Fun, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Authority of Rayong, Bangkok Bank, B. Grimm Company, Bond Holdings, AIS Airplay, Bridgestone, Trust Pharmacy, Trust Live Streaming, Adidas Golf, Balance Golf Nutrition, Leborn, LMV, Udommpanich, St.Andrews 2000 and Barcelona Valley.