The 42-year-old, who held the share of the lead since the opening round, stayed on track for a third Asian Development Tour (ADT) win after firing a three-day total of 14-under-par 202 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$50,000) event.
Casey O’Toole of the United States saved a crucial par on the last hole as he returned with a 69 to remain in the hunt for a first career victory at the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort. Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat and Poom Saksansin posted matching 69s to trail Chia by four and five shots respectively.
Chia started nervously when he bogeyed the fifth hole before turning in 35 as he struggled with poor iron shots. He battled on with three more birdies which included a five-foot birdie on the par three 12th hole before dropping a disappointing bogey on the last hole.
“I didn’t have a good finish but I’m quite happy with the result because I didn’t strike the ball well today. My short game has always been quite good and that saved my round especially on my first five holes,” said Chia.
“I was nervous and I was very conscious about missing the greens but I saved pars. I birdied the 12th hole from five feet and that was the turning point. I want to win but when I step out on the tee tomorrow, my goal is to just play my own game. I need a decent ball striking day and if I can do that, then it should be good enough to win,” he said.
O’Toole, ranked second on the Order of Merit, made a 12-foot par save on the last hole to keep his title hopes alive after trading four birdies against one bogey.
“I feel that my game is good but a lot of guys are still in it. I didn’t take advantage of the par fives today so I will try and do that tomorrow. The course is set up for a low round so I’ll try to go as low as I can,” said O’Toole.
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:
202 – Danny CHIA (MAS) 67 66 69
204 – Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 68 67 69
206 – Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 67 70 69
207 – Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 68 70 69
208 – Josh SALAH (USA) 68 70 70
209 – Ratchapol JANTAVARA (THA) 70 69 70, Sean RIORDAN (NZL) 68 71 70, Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) 67 70 72
210 – Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 69 73 68, Kemarol BAHARIN (MAS) 71 68 71, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 68 69 73
211 – Rory HIE (INA) 69 72 70
212 – Rudy THUILLIER (FRA) 70 72 70, Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) 68 71 73