Thongchai Jaidee got off to an excellent start in his Volvo World Match Play Championship semi-final against Thomas Aiken as he turned three up.
The Thai golfer won three of the first four holes at Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, although his South African opponent hit back with a birdie at the long fifth to reduce Jaidee’s lead to two up.
Five-time European Tour winner Jaidee birdied the first, and was immediately two up as Aiken bogeyed the short next.
The third was halved in pars, before the pair exchanged birdies on the back-to-back par fives in the battle to face either Branden Grace or Graeme McDowell in this afternoon’s final.
Having got himself back in the contest, Avantha Masters winner Aiken drove in a bunker at the sixth to hand the hole straight back against an opponent who had already beaten him the round-robin stage – the pair progressing after both seeing off former winner Ian Poulter.
Jaidee then almost holed his tee shot at the par three seventh, and with the tap-in birdie conceded Aiken found himself four down when he missed from 40 feet.
Aiken carded a birdie of his own at the short eighth, before Jaidee missed a ten foot chance to restore his advantage at the spectacular ninth and so turned three up.
Both players birdied the tenth and 11th, but Jaidee made a mess of the long 12th and Aiken was able to win with a par.
However, Jaidee took the 13th and could have all but ended the contest at the next only to miss a birdie putt from eight feet leaving the former paratrooper three up with five to play.