PATTAYA, THAILAND: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattanond stormed up the leaderboard with a sensational 11-under-par 60 to take a one-shot lead over Belgium’s Thomas Detry after the third round of the season-ending Thailand Masters on Saturday.
After rounds of 69 and 67 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club, Jazz finally shook off his lethargy to find himself in a familiar position atop the leaderboard again with his three-day total of 17-under-par 196.
Detry remained in outright second place for the second consecutive day after he returned with a 66 while overnight leader Phachara Khongwatmai slipped to third place with a 69.
American Sihwan Kim signed for a 66 to head into the final round in fourth place while Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena made his move by returning with a 65 to share fifth place with the Thai trio of Gunn Charoenkul, Panuphol Pittayarat and Suteepat Prateeptienchai.
Playing in his last event for the year, Jazz roared back to life just like how he did in Jakarta last weekend.
The 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion started the day six shots off the pace in tied-19th place but flew under the radar very quickly when he birdied the second hole before going on a seven-hole birdie blitz starting from the par-four six.
The 24-year-old lit up his card again with another birdie on 15 before play was suspended for close to two hours due to lightning activities.
When it resumed, Jazz birdied 16 and 17 before signing off for the day with a par on 18.
Did you know?
– Jazz Janewattananond is playing in his 35th tournament of the year.
– In his 11-birdie round of 60, Jazz hit 11/14 fairways, 15/18 greens and only needed 23 putts (1.33 putts per greens-in-regulation).
– With a win this week, the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion would go to 40th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), one week after cracking the world top-50 for the first time in his career.
– By virtue of his phenomenal play this year, Jazz will be exempt for three out of the four Majors in 2020, the Masters Tournament, PGA Championship and the Open.
– He has also already qualified for two of the World Golf Championships, WGC-Mexico and WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
– Thomas Detry came very close to winning his first event on a major Tour two weeks ago, finishing tied-fourth at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open just one stroke out of the playoff.
– The Belgian also had a high finish in November when he came in tied-third at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player, one of European Tour’s Rolex Series events.
– Thanks to these two top finishes lately the 26-year-old now finds himself in a career high OWGR ranking of 130th, a win this week would put him very close to breaking into the top-100 for the first time.
– Other top-10 finishes on the European Tour this season includes tied-eight finishes in both the Amundi Open de France and Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, and a tied-ninth at the Trophee Hassan II early in the season.
– Phachara Khongwatmai is coming off three straight top-six finishes on the Asian Tour, with a tied-fifth at last week’s BNI Indonesian Masters, tied-second after a play-off loss at the Sabah Masters, and a tied-sixth at the Thailand Open.
– The 20-year-old Thai has a total of five top-10s this season, with tied-eight-place finishes at the Yeangder TPC and GS Caltex Maekyung Open to add to the events above.
– This summer he won the GolfSixes Cascais in Portugal, a two-player team event on the European Tour, together with compatriot, and this week’s host, Thongchai Jaidee.
– Last year, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines won the Queen’s Cup Hosted by Jaidee Foundation, the predecessor to the Thailand Masters which is also hosted by Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee.
– Plagued by an injury early in the season, Tabuena came back strongly after the summer break with a fifth-place finish at the Sarawak Championship, and a tied-second at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters where he was one shot behind the winner.
– Currently 13th on the Order of Merit with just over US$157,000 in earnings, he had his best Asian Tour season in 2016 when he was ranked fifth with over US$525,000 in official money.