Spain’s Elvira Nacho reclaimed his place atop the leaderboard by posting a six-under-par 66 to snatch the outright third round lead at the Maybank Championship on Saturday.
The 32-year-old had earlier taken a share of the opening round lead but slipped a spot down after carding a 72 on Friday.
The Spaniard however, responded well by compiling a three-day total of 13-under-par 203 to stay ahead of the chasing pack by two shots at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
American David Lipsky, who finished second at the Maybank Championship in 2017, made his move by signing for a 67 to take second place on his own. Australia’s Scott Hend and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond are bunched in third place together with Maximillian Kieffer of Germany.
Hend, a nine-time Asian Tour winner, is seeking his first win since 2016 while Jazz is chasing his fourth Asian Tour victory and second in three months, as they both head into the final round, three shots back of Elvira.
Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman enjoy his best round of the week so far by carding a 68 to move inside the top-10 to take a share of ninth place that also includes South Africa’s Louis De Jager and the English pair of Andy Sullivan and Ross Fisher.
Did you know?
- David Lipsky signaled his arrival on the Asian Tour by winning the 2012 Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage.
- He subsequently went on to win the HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic with a play-off victory over Filipino Elmer Salvador, chipping in for birdie in the first extra hole.
- He became the first Asian Tour member to win the Omega European Masters in Switzerland after defeating Graeme Storm on the first play-off hole in 2014.
- He also enjoyed four other top-10s including a second-place finish at The Championship in Singapore to cap a successful year in 2014 where he was crowned the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
- Lipsky’s maiden visit to South Africa last year saw him win the Alfred Dunhill Championship for his second win outside Asia.
- Scott Hend is the first Australian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit title and the fourth player to surpass US$1 million in earnings during a season in 2016.
- The Australian was also voted as Asian Tour Players’ Player of the Year by fellow peers in 2016.
- Jazz currently leads the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings and is making his fourth start on the Asian Tour this week.
- Jazz broke into the world’s top-100 for the first time in his career after claiming his third Asian Tour title at the season-opening event in Singapore in January.
- That victory also earned him a coveted spot in The Open, where he made his Major debut last year.
- Siddikur Rahman wrote a slice of history in 2010 when he became the first player from Bangladesh to win on the Asian Tour at the Brunei Open. He went on to notch his second win on the Asian Tour at the 2013 Hero Indian Open
- The Bangladeshi became the first sportsman from his country to qualify for the Olympics on merit and was accorded the honour of becoming Bangladesh’s flagbearer during the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
Nacho Elvira (Esp) Third round 66 (-6), Total 203 (-13)
The putter worked a bit better than yesterday, especially coming down the stretch. I’m very happy with a 66. It was tough with the heat and humidity today. I stayed patient and it paid off in the end. You’ve got to drink a lot and stay hydrated as much as you can. Sometimes it seems like the more you drink the more you sweat. But I like playing in the heat rather than the cold.
The confidence is coming back little by little. It was a tough start of the season with the driver especially. I worked really hard with the Callaway guys to get the driver ready, I think it’s working. I’m hitting more shots from the short grass so I’m happy.
It would be great to start here but I really don’t think about it too much. I like the way things are right now with my swing. I like the way I’ve turned round my season a little bit. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
David Lipsky (Usa) Third round 68 (-4), Total 205 (-11)
My game is feeling pretty good. These last two days I’ve figured something out and just started clicking. The last two or three weeks my putting has held me back but I’ve been putting well the last two rounds. I’m excited for tomorrow. Kurt (Kitayama) and I are good friends and I think we are feeding off each other, good momentum and positive vibes. We’ll try to keep that going.
It’s a tricky course so you’re going to make bogeys out there, you’ve just got to make your share of birdies. If I can keep making birdies like I am, I think I’ll be alright. If I can shoot the same as I did today or yesterday I’ll be pretty happy. That’s all I can do, just put myself in position.
Scott Hend (Aus) Third round 67 (-5), Total 206 (-10)
Moving day, and I’ve moved closer to the lead. We’ll see where I’m positioned going into tomorrow As long as you’re there you’ve got a chance.
We had 120 to the bottom of the board (third shot on 18). I had to try to hit a six iron 140 to hit the Maybank sign for the angle to get the ball to bounce back onto the green. I didn’t have any other shot. Couldn’t go above, if I went low it would have stopped on the green. Just went six iron and a low punch off the board.
Those boards are not very bouncy, but if you hit the glass you’re in trouble. Just make sure you keep it under the glass, hit the board and back on the green.
Look at last year, Sharma shot a 10-under-par 62 in the last round. Somebody is going to light it up, someone always does. So many good players, good depth in the field. If I sign for a 62 tomorrow I’ll be quite happy to sit in the clubhouse and see what happens.
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) Third round 68 (-4), Total 206 (-10)
I had a good front-nine, struggled in the middle but managed to get a nice birdie in the end. It’s going to be a tough fight tomorrow. Even though I grew up in climates like this, I still struggle a bit. I think it has been like this every year with guys starting off really hot and then the heat gets to them. I’m just going to pace myself tomorrow. It’s really great to play with good and experienced players this week. I’ve learnt a lot from them and see how they play. You try to adapt and learn and that’s how you get better every day. You have to keep your ball in the fairways, the greens, two-putt or one-putt and that’s all you need to do well tomorrow.
Siddikur Rahman (Ban), Third round 68 (-4), Total 209 (-7)
I’m very happy with how I’ve played all week. I’ve been doing well since the first day. I feel like I’m getting there. I’m enjoying myself even though it has been very hot. I’ve got nothing to lose and I’m going to focus and get the job done tomorrow. I love playing in the heat rather than in the cold. I made two double-bogeys yesterday but I told myself it’s okay. I still manage to get a few good up and downs and there are still two more days to go. So I went back today with fresh state of mind and I’m happy with my position on the leaderboard now.
Leading scores after round 3 of the Maybank Championship being played at the par 72, 7136 Yards Saujana GCC course (am – denotes amateur):
203 – Nacho Elvira (ESP) 65-72-66.
205 – David Lipsky (USA) 72-66-67.
206 – Scott Hend (AUS) 69-70-67, Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 66-72-68, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 71-67-68.
207 – Benjamin Hebert (FRA) 69-73-65, Ernie Els (RSA) 68-70-69.
208 – Oliver Fisher (ENG) 70-70-68.
209 – Andy Sullivan (ENG) 72-70-67, Ross Fisher (ENG) 72-71-66, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 70-71-68, Louis De Jager (RSA) 71-69-69.
210 – Johannes Veerman (USA) 72-69-69, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 68-73-69, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 72-72-66.
211 – Matthew Southgate (ENG) 74-69-68, Matthias Schwab (AUT) 66-75-70, Prom Meesawat (THA) 68-71-72, Dean Burmester (RSA) 68-70-73, Lucas Herbert (AUS) 69-69-73, Paul Peterson (USA) 70-68-73.
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