Korean Taehee Lee shot a three-under-par 69 and birthday boy Chikkarangappa S. from India a 71 to share the lead in the US$1million Mercuries Taiwan Masters after round three at Taiwan Golf and Country Club, Tamsui.
They are in front on four-under, by one from New Zealand’s Ben Campbell, the overnight leader, who carded a 73, with India’s Veer Ahlawat (70), South African Jaco Ahlers (72), Angelo Que (72) from the Philippines, Thai Sadom Kaewkanjana (73), and American Jarin Todd (74) two shots back.
Lee had no trouble making birdies, he recorded six of them, including three in succession from the fourth, but made three bogeys on one of the most challenging courses this year because of the narrow fairways and punishing, deep rough.
“It’s a tough course, no doubt, and the greens are difficult to read but my short game was very good – it has to be,” said Lee.
“And the wind was changing on every hole. It is my second time here. Tomorrow I will keep my mind clear and stay calm. Treat it like a normal day.”
His co-leader Chikkarangappa S., or ‘Chikka’ as he is known, felt he played some of his best golf of the week, recording three birdies and two bogeys.
“Hit the ball better today and holed some good putts,” said the Indian, who turned 30 today.
“I could have made a few more birdie putts, I guess. But the greens are tough for everyone. I am pretty happy. Any round shooting red on this course is good.
“I am just sticking to my plan and process. Focus on my routine and the rest will fall into place. Doing things the right away and not thinking about the scores.
“It is a very, very challenging golf course – it is the most difficult it has ever been. It is tough for everyone, as you can see, day by day it is getting tougher for everyone. Anything red is good.”
Campbell had a one shot lead at the start of the day but struggle today.
He said: “It was tough to get into a bit of a rhythm. Battled with the swing today, what I have been working on did not quite work. But I hung in there and still have a chance tomorrow. I played some good golf in there but just a few bad holes. Had some chances coming in but just missed, gonna do some work on the game now.”
Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan (70), Jbe Kruger from South African (73) and Scotland’s David Drysdale (74) are in a tie for ninth – in contention, just four off the lead.
Defending champion Chan Shih-chang from Chinese-Taipei came in with a 73 and is one over, in a group of players that includes India great Jeev Milkha Singha – the 51-year-old who is looking for his first Asian Tour victory in 15 years. He shot a 73.
Scores after round 3 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am – denotes amateur):
212 – Taehee Lee (KOR) 72-71-69, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 69-72-71.
213 – Ben Campbell (NZL) 71-69-73.
215 – Veer Ahlawat (IND) 72-73-70, Jaco Ahlers (RSA) 69-74-72, Angelo Que (PHI) 69-74-72, Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 70-72-73, Jarin Todd (USA) 72-69-74.
216 – Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA) 75-71-70, Jbe Kruger (RSA) 73-70-73, David Drysdale (SCO) 70-72-74.
217 – Liu Yung-hua (TWN) 74-72-71, Yikeun Chang (KOR) 75-71-71, Liao Huan-jyun (TWN) 73-72-72, Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA) 73-72-72, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 71-73-73, Chang Wei-lun (TWN) 72-72-73, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 72-72-73, Chan Shih-chang (TWN) 69-75-73.
218 – Travis Smyth (AUS) 71-75-72, Danny Chia (MAS) 75-71-72, Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 75-70-73, Suteepat Prateeptienchai (THA) 73-72-73, Scott Hend (AUS) 71-74-73, Dodge Kemmer (USA) 69-72-77.
219 – Honey Baisoya (IND) 76-71-72, Micah Lauren Shin (USA) 70-76-73, Kao Teng (TWN) 74-71-74, Todd Sinnott (AUS) 70-75-74, Lu Sun-yi (TWN) 71-73-75.
220 – Josh Younger (AUS) 73-75-72, Seungtaek Lee (KOR) 78-70-72, Miguel Carballo (ARG) 72-76-72, Jaewoong Eom (KOR) 80-68-72, Liu Yen-hung (TWN) 76-71-73, Lu Wen-teh (TWN) 75-72-73, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 71-76-73, Ben Leong (MAS) 72-74-74, Mingyu Cho (KOR) 76-69-75, Karandeep Kochhar (IND) 73-72-75, Yonggu Shin (CAN) 72-71-77.
221 – Lin Wen-tang (TWN) 75-73-73, Richard T. Lee (CAN) 75-73-73, Jack Thompson (AUS) 74-72-75.
222 – Hsu Li-peng (TWN) 76-72-74, Bjorn Hellgren (SWE) 76-72-74, Michael Maguire (USA) 76-72-74, Berry Henson (USA) 74-74-74, Yongjun Bae (KOR) 73-74-75, Hsieh Chi-hsien (TWN) 75-71-76.
223 – Wen Cheng-hsiang (TWN) 74-73-76, Lin Yung-lung (TWN) 74-71-78.
224 – Yeh Chia-yin (am, TWN) 75-73-76, Lee Chieh-po (TWN) 75-70-79.
225 – Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 73-73-79.
227 – Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 73-75-79, Hsieh Tung-hung (TWN) 75-73-79.
228 – Mardan Mamat (SGP) 73-75-80.