Saturday, 16 September 2017
Kiradech Aphibarnrat  (Getty Images)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Getty Images)

A hat-trick of birdies helped Kiradech Aphibarnrat snatch the outright lead midway through the KLM Open third round at The Dutch.

A shot behind halfway leaders Joakim Lagergren and Joël Stalter once the second round was completed on Saturday morning, Aphibarnrat holed a 15 footer for birdie on the fourth to keep touch with the leaders.

French rookie Stalter, who had held a one shot lead overnight before Sweden’s Lagergren completed a flawless second round to catch him, initially went ahead when he rolled in a 12 footer at the second.

Lagergren bogeyed the second but then birdied the fifth and eagled the long sixth, with Stalter keeping tabs with a gain of his own on the sixth.

However, Thailand’s Aphibarnrat picked up shots at the sixth, seventh and eighth, and an outward 31 left him two ahead of the chasing pack on 13 under.

Lagergren bogeyed the ninth, and he and Stalter were joined by another Frenchman, Romain Wattel, who was five under through 12.

Canada’s Austin Connelly, who was on course to set the clubhouse target after playing his first 16 holes in six under, and German Sebastian Heisele were both on ten under.

Wattel almost holed his tee shot to the 14th – a day after Mikko Ilonen recorded the European Tour’s 1,000th ace on the same hole – and the subsequent birdie put him within one of Aphibarnrat, with Lagergren heading in the opposite direction after missing a short par putt on the 11th.

Aphibarnrat missed good chances to extend his lead on the 11th and 12th, and was caught when Wattel knocked in an eight footer for birdie at the 16th.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WATTEL, RomainFRA18-15
2CONNELLY, AustinCAN18-14
T3WALTERS, JustinRSA18-13
T3COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-13
T3HEISELE, SebastianGER18-13

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