Rattanon Wannasrichan of Thailand in action during the Singapore International
Rattanon Wannasrichan of Thailand in action during the Singapore International Image Credit: AFP

Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan on Saturday retained his position at the top of the leaderboard as he battled testing conditions at the Singapore International with a third round one-over 73.

The Thai struggled in his front nine where he bogeyed holes two and nine. After making the turn in 38, he dropped another shot on the 11th hole before finding relief with a birdie on the next par-four 12.

Rattanon then parred the next five holes before a closing birdie on 18 allowed him to sign for a three-day total of four-under 212, giving him a two-shot cushion over South Korea’s Joohyung Kim, who posted a 69.

“I was really nervous in the beginning, but I calmed myself down by singing a Thai song in my mind and by talking to my caddie,” Rattanon said.

“As I keep saying, the course is so hard, everyone feels the same way. But it is a good experience for me. I just have to take it shot by shot tomorrow.”

Kim was among only 10 out of 68 players competing in the weekend rounds to have broken par at the Tanah Merah Country Club where strong winds were swirling.

The 19-year-old also struggled in his opening front-nine where he traded two bogeys and two birdies to reach the turn in 36.

But he hauled himself back into contention for his second Asian Tour title by reeling off three birdies in his last five holes to stay close to Rattanon.

“It’s so hard to be aggressive just because of the conditions here. Obviously, when you see the score, you’ll be jumping for joy when you shoot an even-par,” Kim said. “I’ll try to play aggressively whenever I can and be as conservative whenever possible too. That’ll be my game plan for tomorrow.”

Dubai's Jeev Milkha Singh hails Tanah Merah Country Club

India’s S Chikkarangappa, in with a 70, is in third place in the penultimate event of the 2020-21 Asian Tour season.

Thailand’s 14-year-old amateur star Ratchanon Chantananuwat, who was two behind the leader at the start of the day, slipped back with a 76 and is five off the pace.

For the second day in a row Ratchanon Chantananuwat reached the brutal 626-yard par-five 18th in two but unlike yesterday his eagle putt slipped past the cup.

Dubai-based Shiv Kapur of India shot a third-round 75, to stand at 10-over in tied-55th. Jumeirah Golf Estates’ South African resident MG Keyser shot 77 for 12-over in 65th place.