2018 HSBC Champions

Words by BGB
BANGKOK, Thailand: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be hoping to overcome his ball striking woes on the day that matters most after carding a third round two-under-par 70 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions on Saturday.

The world number 41 ended day three of the US$10 million event in tied-seventh place, six shots back of American leader Tony Finau, who stamped his authority at the Shanghai showpiece by being the only player to birdie the last three holes to lead with his three-day total of 13-under-par 203.

Defending champion Justin Rose, who is seeking to become the only player other than Tiger Woods to defend a World Golf Championships title, returned with a 70 to share second place with Americans Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele.

While a maiden WGC win at the Sheshan International Golf Club is still within sights, the Thai prefers to play down expectations and just focus on getting off to a fast start so that he chase Finau down on the final day.

Kiradech birdied two of his opening three holes before dropping a shot on six. He recovered quickly with another birdie on the next hole but suffered another bogey on the eight hole.

The Thai then marked his card with another pair of birdies on 13 and 14 before another bogey on 15 dropped him back to two-under for the round.

Like Kiradech, Finau is also eyeing his breakthrough at a WGC event and is hopeful of getting the job done provided he continues to maintain his composure as he is wary of the host of world class players ready to capitalise on any of his mistakes he may make on the final day.

Did you know?

– Kiradech Aphibarnrat hit 9/14 fairways, 7/18 greens and took 21 putts today.

– The Thai is playing in his fourth WGC-HSBC Champions. His previous results include T55 (2013), T30 (2015), T24 (2017).

– He is the first player from Thailand to gain full-time membership on the PGA TOUR.

– Tony Finau is playing in the fifth World Golf Championships event of his career and he has never finished worse than T27 at a WGC.

– Finau finished T11 at last year’s WGC-HSBC Champions in his only previous start at the event.

– Justin Rose is bidding to become first golfer to successfully defend at WGC-HSBC Champions.

– He came from eight shots back to win last year, the third largest comeback in WGC history.

– Xandere Schauffele is looking for his first top-10 finish in a World Golf Championships event.

– In his past five starts at WGCs, Schauffele’s best finish is a T13 at the 2017 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.