09 November 2019: The value of persistence and belief can never quite be translated into words. The bumpy road that SSP Chawrasia has endured this season, without the scars to show for it, speaks of a quiet belief that is beyond ordinary folk. Between the Andalucia Masters and the BMW Championship, Chawrasia missed seven straight cuts. But it is not this resilient man’s DNA to buckle under the burden of professional golf.
Over the past three days, Chawrasia has played some mighty impressive golf to slowly yet surely work his way up the order in the Thailand Open. A three-under 68 in the third round, with a string of birdies at the end, helped Chawrasia gain a share of the lead with Andrew Martin, who also made 68.
Chawrasia made three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the 14th to make a last gasp charge to set up a thrilling finish at the Thai Country Club. He was left to do all his work at the end after starting the day with a stutter on the second hole. He made amends on the sixth, but that only meant that he could turn in even with Martin, who had four birdies on the front nine, threatening to separate himself from the field.
“It’s been 12 long years since I last played here at the Thai Country Club. The course still feels similar to back then except that the trees have grown much taller. It was nice to be back here and be in a share of the lead heading into the final round,” said Chawrasia.
“I played good today. It was nice to shoot three birdies in the last five holes. I’m happy with it. I missed a couple of putts on the front nine but it got better on the back. I have been playing pretty consistently for the past three rounds.
“The course is playing the same today. It’s still windy. But I am happy to put myself in a share of the lead now. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I’ll try my best and let’s see. It’s nice to back playing in Asia. It always feels like home and I am more comfortable.
This is my last year of winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour so a good result tomorrow will help a lot.”
Amateur golfer Natthaphat Harnchokchaiskul did a great job again. He produced a quiet 70, enough to leave him just one back from the leaders. He is lying in the third spot, two strokes ahead of Phachara Khongwatmai, John Catlin and Suradit Yongcharoenchai.
Shiv Kapur with a 71 and Ajeetesh Sandhu with a 73 are lying in T11 at 5-under through 54 holes.
Asian Tour Facts:
- Andrew Martin is playing in his fifth start on Tour this season. His best result is a tied-20th place finish at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth in February.
- The 35-year-old Australian came through the 2018 Qualifying School but failed to retain his card after finishing in 63rd place on the Order of Merit. He missed the cut-off mark by two rungs.
- Martin’s wife is on his bag this week. Martin needed only 26 putts in his round of 68 today. He is ranked third in the Greens in Regulations category with an average of 1.59 putts per GIR. He has also found 78.58% of fairways this week to sit in tied-eight position in that stats category.
- Prior to his Qualifying School attempt, Martin has enjoyed a tied-eighth place finish at the 2017 Indonesia Open for his first top-10 result on the Asian Tour. He claimed two other top-10 results in China and Fiji last year.
- Martin finished tied-seventh in his last event, the Victorian PGA Championship two weeks ago on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
- He also had a sixth-place finish at the Tailor-made Building Services NT PGA Championship in August on the same tour.
- Martin enjoyed his best-career season in 2012 where he notched two tied-second finishes in his home country.
- S.S.P. Chawrasia is a six-time Asian Tour winner. He is playing in his fifth start on Tour this season. It is also the first time in 12 years that Chawrasia is playing at the Thai Country Club.
- The 41-year-old Indian, who sits in 64th place on the current Order of Merit, needs a good showing this week to try and break into top-60 at the end of the season to keep his card for 2020. It’s the final year of exemption for Chawrasia since he won twice on Tour in 2016 and another title in 2017.
- Chawrasia turned professional in 1997. He picked up the game at the age of 10. The self-taught golfer is nicknamed ‘Chipputtsia’ because of his superb short game.
- He had successfully defended his title at the 2017 Hero Indian Open for his sixth Asian Tour victory. He is only the third player in the tournament’s history to win back-to-back titles.
- Chawrasia has been plying his trade mainly on the European Tour for the past few years.
- Chawrasia has hit 75.92% of Greens in regulation this week and is ranked tied-fifth in that stats category. He found 80.95% of fairways to sit in tied-sixth place in that category.
- Natthaphat Harnchokchaiskul is a member of the Thai Golf Association. The 19-year-old is playing in his first Asian Tour event and his first Thailand Open this week.
- He used to be a member of the Thailand Junior Golf Federation where he had won several Class A events before graduating two years ago. Natthaphat picked up the game when he was nine years old.
- Natthaphat, who hails from Bangkok, was the last man in for the 2019 Thailand Open. He only received his entry confirmation from the Thai Golf Association on Sunday night.
- A win for Natthaphat tomorrow would see him become the first amateur to win a full-field Asian Tour event since Chinnarat Phadungsil won the Double A International Open in 2005, and the first in any event since Danny Lee won the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic.
- Natthaphat used to watch Prom Meesawat play from outside the ropes when he was young. Today, they were paired in the same group for the first time ever.
- Natthaphat’s childhood swing teacher is on his bag for him this week. His father and his current coach also came out to watch him play today.
- Natthaphat is tied for lead in the Greens in regulation category this week with an average of 77.78%.