FORSYTH, Illinois, June 17, 2017 - Chorphaka Jaengkit’s (Bangkok, Thailand) remarkable run at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic continued on Saturday at Hickory Point Golf Course. The rookie - who quit golf during her final two years of high school - posted a 4-under, 68 to move to 10-under, 134. She will take a two shot lead into Sunday’s final-round with a chance at her first win and the top payout of $19,500. Jaengkit has earned only $1,296 in five starts.
Allison Emrey (Charlotte, North Carolina) also turned in a 4-under, 68 to get to 8-under, 136. Emrey is followed by five players in a tie for third at 7-under, 137: Brogan McKinnon (Toronto, Canada), Katelyn Dambaugh (Goose Creek, South Carolina), Hannah Green (Perth, Australia), Jane Rah (Torrence, Calif.) and Erynne Lee (Silverdale, Washington).
The cut was made at 1-under, 143 and 67 will tee it up on Sunday.
Jaengkit, 24, has made 12 birdies and two bogeys this week to lead the pack. She is playing in just her sixth career Symetra Tour event and has made the cut in just two of five starts.
“I’m very happy about my game right now,” said Jaengkit. “I have my friend on the bag (Julia Shin) and that has helped me feel more relaxed. I’m having fun on the golf course.”
Shin, who was a teammate of Jaengkit at Grand Canyon University, came from her home in Brazil to help Jaengkit over the last three weeks.
“She came all the way from Brazil just to help me during these last three weeks,” said Jaengkit. “This is supposed to be the last week, but I am trying to convince her to stay.”
A win might be enough to keep Shin in the U.S.
Jaengkit’s putter has been key this week. She attempted 26 putts on Friday and 28 on Saturday.
“I’m striking the ball a little better compared to last tournament (Four Winds Invitational),” said Jaengkit, who had her best finish of the year last week (T27). “I’ve been putting well too, we’ve been able to read the greens right.”
Jaengkit quit golf her final two years of high school and was going to Grand Canyon University to focus on the Pharmacy school. She returned to golf when she needed a scholarship.
“I didn’t expect to be here at all, when I went to Grand Canyon it was a Division II school,” said Jaengkit, who was at Grand Canyon when they switched to Division I her final two years. “When they switched to Division I, I saw stronger fields and that helped my golf game and made my decision easier to turn professional.”
Sunday will be Jaengkit’s first experience in the final group on the Symetra Tour. However, she has won twice on the Cactus Tour. Her caddy during both wins was Shin.
“Right after I graduated, I played two Cactus Tour events with Julia on the bag and we won both so hopefully we can win a third.”
Meanwhile, Emrey nearly squandered a shot at the end of her round, but hit a fantastic recovery chip from 40-yards and saved par on hole nine to stay within two shots of Jaengkit.
“I pulled my utility wood from the first cut on the right of the fairway and it hit the hill to the left of the bunker and shot right,” explained Emrey. “I paced it off and had 40 yards, but I figured if I landed it on the green, it would trickle down to the hole.”
That is exactly what happened. She tapped in a 2-foot par putt.
With so many players bunched up, that shot could wind up being pivotal.
“I feel like it will be a birdie fest tomorrow (Sunday),” said Emrey. “Hopefully I have a lot of birides left in me. If the wind is like today, I think it could get to 15-under, who knows.