Pattaya: Jose Casado carded an eight under 64 to go two clear heading into the final round of the Mena Tour’s Pattana Golf Championship on Thursday.
The event, which is the final event of the tour’s three-stage Thai Swing, was due to be the tour’s 72-hole competition but was reduced to 36 holes due to bad weather.
The Spaniard, who started on 10, got six birdies in a row from the 11th, as Thailand’s Nakul Vichitryuthasastr went bogey-free to occupy solo second on six under.
England’s Jodan Garnish and Udayan Mane of India fired matching 67s that left the duo sharing third a further shot adrift.
“It was an amazing round with nine birdies,” said Casado. “My putting was crazy as I made six birdies from holes 11-16 and another three on the front nine. This is my first year playing on the Mena Tour and I’m really enjoying the atmosphere as there is a tremendous sense of camaraderie among the players.”
Experienced Nakul also lit up the back nine with five birdies before picking up another shot on the first to stay in contention for his maiden title on tour.
“I played a good, solid round,” he said. “I had an early start and benefited from the lack of wind.”
India’s Mane also kept it clean, reeling off two birdies on the front nine and three coming home for a share of second.
“I drove the ball really well which gave me enough chances to hit greens,” he said. “It was a bit waterlogged in a few places, but it’s our duty as players to adjust to the course. The greens were surprisingly really quick and it caught me off guard on a few holes, but I was able to salvage pars.”
Elsewhere, European Tour regular Prom Meesawat returned a 70 to move into a 16-way tie for 16th.
Dubai-based Brazilian Tiago Lobo mixed five birdies with an eagle and four bogeys to lead the amateur division on a 69, three shots clear of Dubai-based Indian Arkesh Bhatia.
The cut was made at level-par 72 with 58 professionals and seven amateurs making it into the final round. English cricketer-turned-golfer Craig Kieswetter, who hit 73, was among the notables who missed out on the halfway mark.