SHANGHAI – Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the BMW Masters.
Thongchai had started the day three shots behind Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark, but made five birdies on the front nine to move into a share of the lead and then two more on the back nine to card a 15-under 201 through 54 holes.
“I think today I miss about three greens. That’s why the key, I think, is I play my irons really well,” the 46-year-old veteran said. “Tomorrow is a very big day. If I play well like this, keep performing like this, I’m going to have a good chance.”
The Thai golfer, seeking his second European Tour title of the season, is one stroke ahead of Bjerregaard (70), Sergio Garcia of Spain (67) and An Byeong-hun of South Korea (66).
Players wore black ribbons on their hats to remember the victims of the attacks in Paris on Friday night and took to Twitter to share their condolences.
France’s Benjamin Hebert, who shot a 71 on Saturday, posted a picture of himself wearing a white hat and glove with the words “Pray for Paris” written across them, as well as black pants and a green shirt. His tweet read, “Black for mourning, green for hope, white for peace.”
After breaking a BMW Masters record with a 29 on his back nine, Australia’s Marcus Fraser tweeted: “Days like today make you realize even more how insignificant golf really is.”
Fraser ended his round by holing a 231-yard shot for eagle on the par-4 18th hole to become the first player at the tournament to break 30 on either the front or back nine, according to the European Tour. He shot a 65 to move into a tie for 11th place, four strokes behind the leader.
Fraser said he thought his second shot on 18 was “perfect” when he hit it. “All of a sudden, there’s a lot of carrying on up here (at the pin) and I walk up there and I’d torn the front out of the hole and the ball was sitting in the bottom,” he said.
Garcia also finished strongly with three birdies on his last four holes to stay close to the lead. He’s aiming to win his first European Tour title in nearly two years.
“I played the last four holes really well, I think. It was nice to be able to finish like that and give myself a shot tomorrow because I was getting a little bit far behind,” he said.
An, the BMW PGA Championship winner earlier this year, carded six birdies in a blemish-free round, while Bjerregaard had three birdies to go with one bogey.
Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg was in fifth place at 13 under overall, two shots behind Thongchai, while Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Ross Fisher, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter were another shot back in a tie for sixth.
France’s Alexander Levy and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters had the low round of the day with a 63.
Levy said the Paris attacks were on his mind when he started his round on Saturday morning.
“I was very disappointed this morning when I wake up because I watch what happened in France,” he said. “And I say, ‘Come on, today just have fun and enjoy your day’ because a lot of trouble in France.”