Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang fired a sizzling seven-under-par 63 to snatch the outright lead after the third round of the King’s Cup presented by PTT Group on Saturday.
Chan’s three-day total of nine-under-par 201 moved him ahead of the chasing pack and brought him closer to his dream of winning his maiden Asian Tour title at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
England’s Eddie Pepperell matched Chan’s effort but stayed a shot back in second place with South Africa’s Jaco Ahlers after they returned with matching 202 total.
France’s Lionel Weber together with England’s Mark Foster shared fourth place on 203 while overnight leader Terry Pilkadaris of Australia slipped to a share of sixth place with Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang and India’s S. Chikkarangappa following a 71.
Having won on five occasions on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), Chan is determined to land the prized title on the Asian Tour now.
“I’ve won four times on the Asian Development Tour and it’s my dream to win on the Asian Tour now,” said Chan.
The 30-year-old posted his best round since the start of the year and is confident of his breakthrough if he continues to putt well.
“I’m very happy to return with a bogey-free round considering how windy it was today. This is the best round I’ve played all season and I’m really pleased.
“I changed by putting stance and it really worked to my advantage the last three days,” said Chan, who made a total of 25 putts today.
Pepperell set the scorching pace with an outward 30 which was highlighted by four birdies, an eagle and a bogey.
While he could not maintain that hot streak in his inward-nine, the Englishman still managed to reel two more birdies on 11 and 17 to leave himself just one shot back of Chan.
“Saturday’s a moving day and I managed to do that, so that was nice. I had a bad back-nine yesterday which gave me lots of things to do today.
“I got off to a hot start and hit the ball really well and gave myself tap-ins which made life really easy for myself. It was a bit tougher on the back-nine as it was quite windy as there some tough holes. But I still felt I played well for most parts of the round there,” said Pepperell.
Ahlers is meanwhile hoping to continue his winning run having recently won on the Sunshine Tour last month.
“It has just been hard work and playing with the right people at the moment. I’m also working with a new swing aid which is working wonders for my temper and golf swing,” said Anlers
The South African stumbled early with a bogey on the second hole but recovered quickly with four birdies on holes three, four, six and eight.
He made another birdie on 11 but a bogey on 16 put paid to his hopes of sharing the third round lead with Chan.
“I didn’t finish as good as I wanted to unfortunately. I missed a short one on 15 and a bogey on 16 just rubbed it in. But I’m happy as I set a target of eight-under when I started and I met it,” added the South African.
Leading Scores after round 3 of the King’s Cup being played at the par 70, 6698 Yards Phoenix Gold GcC course (am – denotes amateur):
201 – CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 71-67-63.
202 – Eddie PEPPERELL (ENG) 67-72-63, Jaco AHLERS (RSA) 67-68-67.
203 – Lionel WEBER (FRA) 68-70-65, Mark FOSTER (ENG) 71-66-66.
204 – Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 68-68-68, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 69-66-69, Terry PILKADARIS (AUS) 66-67-71.
205 – Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) 71-67-67, Johan EDFORS (SWE) 68-68-69.
206 – Jason KNUTZON (USA) 70-68-68, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 70-67-69, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 65-72-69, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 71-65-70, Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA) 63-70-73.