Saturday, 16 September 2017
Day Three Highlights - KLM Open

Kiradech Aphibarnrat holed a 25-foot birdie effort on the 18th to snatch a one shot lead going into the final round of the KLM Open.

The 28 year old from Thailand led for much of the third round, but spurned several good birdie chances on the back nine at The Dutch and seemed to have paid the price for his profligacy when he was caught by France’s Romain Wattel.

However, the first birdie of his inward nine at the last gave Aphibarnrat a round of 66 and a 14 under par total - one ahead of Wattel.

“It’s been a great day, no dropped shots,” Aphibarnrat said. 

“It’s nice to be in the last group on the final round, especially as it’s my first time in The Netherlands as well. 

“I have to thank all the fans that are coming out and supporting - it’s been bad weather this week but they are still here so they must really love golf a lot.”

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.

Gains at the sixth, seventh and eighth gave Aphibarnrat an outward 31 and left him two ahead of the chasing pack.

“I have to thanks all the fans that are coming out and supporting" - Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Wattel had already registered five birdies in six holes around the turn when he 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.

The pair remained locked together until Aphibarnrat’s late strike, with birdies on the 15th and 17th leaving Stalter third on 12 under after a round of 69.

England’s Lee Westwood also birdied the last for a 67 to lie on 11 under, alongside Germany’s Sebastian Heisele and Lagergren, who signed for a one under 70.

Wattel has a chance to end his wait for a first European Tour title after a flawless 64, having twice been a European Tour runner-up and with 25 top-ten finishes to his name.

After shooting his lowest round of the season, Wattel - without a top-20 finish this campaign - said: “I’m very delighted, I played very good today. 

“I just tried to play my own game and I made some good putts. 

“The game, it’s just up and down. I’ve been doing my best this year but it hasn’t been enough. I’ve been working with my coach and changed many things, but when you work a lot you don’t always get what you expect.”

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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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