Golf: Chapchai Nirat buoyed by 'safe' approach in third round of SMBC Singapore Open

Thai golfer Chapchai Nirat (pictured) carded a five-under 66 in the third round for a 203 total to lie three strokes off Japan's Yoshinori Fujimoto in joint-fourth.
Thai golfer Chapchai Nirat (pictured) carded a five-under 66 in the third round for a 203 total to lie three strokes off Japan's Yoshinori Fujimoto in joint-fourth.PHOTO: LAGARDERE SPORTS

SINGAPORE - It was deja vu for Thai golfer Chapchai Nirat on the third day of the SMBC Singapore Open on Saturday (Jan 19) at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He carded a five-under 66 in the third round for a 203 total to lie three strokes off Japan's Yoshinori Fujimoto in joint-fourth.

Last year, he had the same three-day score and was a stroke behind Sergio Garcia. While the Spaniard held his lead to become champion, Chapchai came undone and had a 77 to finish joint-16th.

The world No. 378 hinted that his late collapse remains on his mind going into today's final round.

"I just want to have fun. I'm happy to be in a good position but I don't want to think too much about tomorrow," said the four-time Asian Tour winner. "I have a good caddie this week. He helped me a lot."

The 35-year-old said playing it safe yesterday allowed him to make his move from joint-11th.

He said: "I tried not to be too aggressive. Based on my past experiences (here), I knew how and when to play it safe. I knew the pins would be difficult in the third round."

He sank four straight birdies to open his back nine, including a 40-footer on the par-four 10th.

He might have fared better than a card of seven birdies, blotted by two bogeys, if not for lapses in concentration during his last two holes.

"I expected myself to putt well on the back nine. This is a golf course that suits my game and I had fun out there today," he said.

He appears to be back in the swing of things after a wretched 2017 which saw him plummet to a career-worst 805th in the world.

He recorded five top-10 finishes last year, including consecutive top-three finishes at the Indonesia Open and the Royal Cup in July.

A win would complete his revival.

"It's been a good start to the year so far. Hopefully more good things will come my way," he said.