Chan Shih-chang continued to shoot the lights out in the Royal’s Cup today after carding a five-under-par 67 to lead the Asian Tour event on 19 under.
American Sihwan Kim is a stroke behind after firing a 66 at Grand Prix Golf Club, while Sadom Kaewkanjana from Thailand is two shots further back following a 67.
Yesterday, Chan finished with a hole in one on 16 and an eagle on 18 to open up a two-shot advantage and he was equally as ruthless today on the front nine going out in four under to lead by four at the turn from Kim. However, the American rallied with a strong back nine to ensure Chan did not start to run away with the US$400,000 event.
“My front nine was really solid today,” said 35-year-old Chan.
“I knew I was leading by four after the turn. Heading into the back nine, I was just thinking to make more birdies so that I can widen the lead. If I can do that, it will be more comfortable for me tomorrow. But still leading by one now, not thinking much to be honest. I just want to continue playing like how I did so far and see how it goes tomorrow.”
The Chinese-Taipei golfer won the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship at the end of last year for his third win on the Asian Tour. He is also a six-time winner on the Asian Development Tour with the last of those coming in 2018 on home soil.
He has actually missed the cut in three out of the four events played since Blue Canyon so victory on Sunday will be an impressive turnaround in form.
Kim is in search of his first win as a professional and is going about it in the right way having not dropped a shot in the tournament yet.
“I am enjoying playing this course and I’m playing really well but there is still one more day to go,” said Kim, a former top amateur having won the 2004 US Junior before later attending the prestigious Standford University, at the same time as American Michelle Wie.
“Made some nice putts on the back nine so just need to keep that going tomorrow.”
The American was in contention in both Phuket and the SMBC Singapore Open before recording top four finishes, and has not missed a cut on the Asian Tour since its restart after COVID-19 late last year.
Sadom will no doubt be a threat tomorrow having claimed Singapore’s National Open last month.
Said the 23 year old: “[On being 16 under] It is pretty good to play this course many under par. It was a pretty strong wind today and the greens are very difficult if you miss them, so I’m very happy with the result. I think today was windier than the first two rounds.
“In the first two rounds my driving was very good, I only missed one fairway for two days. Today it was not good, and I hit only eight fairways. But my putting was good today and it helped me a lot. I feel good, just focusing on my game and try to play my best.”
Korean Bio Kim returned a 68 and is in sole possession of fourth place six behind Chan, in what is the second event of the season on the Asian Tour.