Matthew Giles of Australia shot a two-under-par 70 to seize the third round lead at The Bali National Golf Championship after Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei struggled in the closing three holes on Saturday.
The 25-year-old Giles produced three birdies and one eagle against three bogeys to lead by one shot on nine-under-par 207 at the challenging Bali National Golf Club.
Current Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit leader Hsieh was cruising on 11-under through 15 holes before making two disappointing double bogeys on holes 16 and 17.
He birdied 18 for a 71 to share second place with overnight leader Jake Stirling of Australia, who returned with a 73 at the US$76,000 ADT event.
Lindsay Renolds of Canada was a further shot back following a 70 while Micah Lauren Shin of the United States registered a 69 to trail the leader by three shots.
“I missed the cut last week in Koh Samui on the Asian Tour but I’m hitting the ball well. This is a course that suits me. It is wide off the tees and you need to control your ball in the wind. It is a lot similar we play back home,” said Giles.
Playing in his first ADT event, the Australian will not take his slim lead for granted in the windy conditions at Bali National.
“Everyone here is trying to win and the level of play on the ADT is really good. I’ll just take one hole as it comes and focus on my own game. Tomorrow is a new day. The wind has been blowing in the same direction but you never know what will happen tomorrow,” he said.
Hsieh, a two-time ADT winner, was disappointed not to build on his performance through 15 holes after losing his ball on 16 and finding the water hazard on the par three island green 17th hole.
“I played awesome for 15 holes. It was a terrible last three holes but I still have a chance because I’m trailing by only one shot. I don’t want to think too much about my round today. Tomorrow is a new round,” said the 24-year-old.
Stirling, who is aiming for a second straight win on the ADT, saw his overnight two-shot lead erased after a wayward tee shot on the tricky first hole forced him to take an unplayable. He battled back with four birdies against two bogeys to stay in the hunt.
“I just tried to hang in there. I’m surprised that I’m still in contention. Hsieh had it going early. He made a couple of mistakes coming in. With three holes to go, I was out of it because he was running away with it but he dropped a few shots and that kind of helps everybody,” said Stirling.
The Bali National Golf Championship is the 15th leg of the 2015 ADT season and also the first of the three stops in Indonesia. Admission to The Bali National Golf Championship is free.
Since it was inaugurated in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 22 tournaments in 2015.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com
Leading third round scores:
207 – Matthew GILES (AUS) 68 69 70
208 – HSIEH Chi-hsien (TWN) 67 70 71, Jake STIRLING (AUS) 68 67 73
209 – Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN) 69 70 70
210 – Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) 69 72 69
211 – Arie Irawan (MAS) 71 71 69, Sean RIORDAN (NZL) 67 74 70
212 – Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 74 69 69, CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 72 71 69, William SJAICHUDIN (INA) 69 73 70, Himmat RAI (IND) 73 69 70, Gyeongjun LEE (KOR) 65 75 72, Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 67 72 73, Khalin JOSHI (IND) 67 71 74
213 – Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 71 73 69, Poosit SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 69 70 74, Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) 70 69 74
214 – Mitsuhiko HASHIZUME (JPN) 70 72 72
215 – Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA) 74 70 71