Taipei, Sep 14: Korean American Chan Kim took advantage of a new swing change to grab the third round lead at the Tournament Players Championship (TPC) with a four-under-par 68 here Saturday.
The Asian Tour rookie, who won the Qualifying School in January, leads the chasing pack on 10-under-par 206 at the $500,000 Asian Tour event at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
Reigning Order of Merit winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand returned with a 71 while Chinese Taipei’s Yeh Wei-tze posted a 67 courtesy of a chip-in eagle on the last to trail Kim by one-shot. Asian Development Tour (ADT) graduate Hsu Mong-nan was a further shot back.
Jaako Makitalo of Finland carded a 65, the lowest round of the week, to share fifth place with Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun (69) and India’s Chiragh Kumar, who shot a disappointing 74.
The 23-year-old Kim, who has one top-10 result this season, stole the limelight with a refined swing which he worked on with coach Scott Adland.
“We’ve been working on the timing of my swing and making it simpler. It’s helping a lot especially down the stretch where you get tired. It’s very easy for you to swing out of sync but this week, my swing has a good tempo. I kind of feel a pause at the top (of the swing) but that’s my sensation. I feel like I should stay at the top for a quick second before making my down swing,” said Kim.
Kim started off strongly with three straight birdies from hole three and added a close range birdie on the last after hitting 12 straight pars.
“I just told myself to stay patient and keep grinding because birdies are not going to come easy out here. You got to work for the birdies so you have to keep trying to hit greens and hopefully make the putt.”
However, 2010 edition champion Thaworn played down his chances of winning his 16th Asian Tour title after struggling with his irons for the third day.
206 – Chan KIM (USA) 70-68-68.
207 – YEH Wei-tze (TPE) 73-67-67, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 69-67-71.
208 – HSU Mong-nan (TPE) 69-68-71.
211 – Jaakko MAKITALO (FIN) 73-73-65, BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 73-69-69, Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 68-69-74.
212 – LU Chien-soon (TPE) 72-72-68, Berry HENSON (USA) 71-70-71.
213 – Angelo QUE (PHI) 74-72-67, CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 71-71-71.
214 – Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA) 72-75-67, Matthew STIEGER (AUS) 69-73-72, Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 66-76-72, LAM Chih Bing (SIN) 72-70-72.
215 – Sam CYR (USA) 75-70-70, SUNG Mao-chang (TPE) 70-74-71, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 71-72-72, Richard T. LEE (CAN) 74-68-73, Adam GROOM (AUS) 69-72-74, Tim STEWART (AUS) 70-69-76.