Maruyama takes charge

Daisuke Maruyama fired a 3-under 68 on Saturday and now stands on the brink of winning his 2nd Asia-Pacific Open.

Japan’s Daisuke Maruyama fired a three-under-par 68 on Saturday and now stands on the brink of winning his second Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open.

Maruyama, who won the title in 2009, posted a three-day, eight-under-par 205 tally to take a one shot lead over SK Ho, the Korean second-round leader having struggled in with a 73 for a share of second place alongside Japan’s Michio Matsumura on 206.

South Africa’s Jbe Kruger carded a 72 for fourth place while Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan signed for a 70 to lie one back in fifth place at the ¥150,000,000 (approximately US$1.7 million) event jointly sanctioned by the Asian and Japan Golf Tours.

Maruyama, who started the day in equal fourth, dropped his first shot on the par-four first, but he quickly responded with birdies on the second and fifth holes before another bogey on the seventh hole set him back to even-par for his outward-nine.

The 40-year-old then charged back into contention by posting birdies on holes 10, 13 and 16 after the turn.

“I was trying to find my rhythm on the front-nine and thought that I could reach the turn in under-par as I wanted to keep the pressure on the leaders,” said Maruyama.

“But my round really came to life on my back-nine where I was really feeling confident. I’m not going to think so much about my lead tomorrow. Instead I’m going to focus on what I’ve done today and hopefully I’ll win,” added Mauyama

Overnight leader Ho was disappointed that he could not extend his lead after carding four bogeys against just two birdies.

“I just couldn’t find my form today. I made several bad drives and they were very costly. Hopefully I can play better tomorrow,” Ho said.

Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, who signed for a 70 to be among the five players bunched in equal sixth, believes that he can overcome his four-shot deficit on Sunday and make a charge for his second Asian Tour title.

“It’s not over yet. I’ve been talking to my coach and the main thing tomorrow is to stick with my game plan and stay close to the leaders,” said Prom.

Prom endured a topsy-turvy start to his outward-nine with three bogeys against one birdie onj the opening six holes.

He managed to turn his game around at the eighth where he saved par and then went on to rebound with birdies on holes 9, 10, 12 and 16 before dropping another shot on the 17th hole.

205 – Daisuke Maruyama (Jpn) 67-70-68.
206 – Michio Matsumura (Jpn) 68-71-67, S.K. Ho (Kor) 67-66-73.
207 – Jbe Kruger (Rsa) 64-71-72.
208 – Hiroyuki Fujita (Jpn) 69-69-70.
209 – Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha) 74-69-66, Kenichi Kuboya (Jpn) 67-74-68, Tetsuji Hiratsuka (Jpn) 69-72-68, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 71-68-70, Prom Meesawat (Tha) 68-71-70.
210 – Anthony Kang (USA) 75-68-67, Brad Kennedy (Aus) 69-73-68.