Mardan Mamat of Singapore birdied the last hole to pull three shots clear after shooting a three-under-par 68 in the third round of the US$300,000 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open on Friday.
The 47-year-old, who won three out of his four Asian Tour titles after leading for three rounds, totalled 12-under-par 201 to continue his dominant form at the challenging Kurmitola Golf Club.
Young talents Khalin Joshi of India and Lee Soomin of Korea charged into contention on matching 65s to trail Mardan by three and four shots respectively as they chase for a first Asian Tour win.
Playing in his first ever Asian Tour event, Janne Kaske of Finland had to battle hard before returning with a 72 to lie in fourth position on a 206 total. Dulal Hossain was the best placed Bangladeshi in tied seventh place following a 72.
After opening with two birdies, Mardan had to dig deep into his reserves to hole a 10-foot birdie on the last hole after running low on energy due to the humidity.
“I lost my concentration on the back nine because of the heat. I ate and drank a lot of water to regain my focus. I don’t think I will practice. I will take a rest. It has been a long day and I was exhausted in the last three holes,” said Mardan.
Mardan will not take a three-shot advantage for granted on the challenging tree-lined Kurmitola course.
“I feel I’m getting closer to another win but I will not take whatever lead I have for granted. I have an advantage but I must focus and make sure I do what I’m supposed to do,” said the Singaporean.
The 22-year-old Joshi chipped in for eagle on the 14th hole before missing two short putts for birdie and par on holes 15 and 16 respectively. Two closing birdies hauled him into contention for a first Asian Tour title.
“I’m really excited because I’ve been waiting for this moment. Hopefully I get the better out of everybody else. . I’ve put myself in position to win an Asian Tour title before but didn’t close. I’m playing well and I hopes my putter holds up,” said Joshi.
The 21-year-old Lee, who earned an Asian Tour card at Qualifying School earlier this year, will play in the final group for the first time on the Asian Tour after shooting seven birdies and one eagle.
“I putted very well and I’m happy with where I am now. I have been playing good golf. I really want to win so I hope that I can make it this week,” said the Korean.
Finland’s Kaske, a winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) which is the second circuit of the Asian Tour, fought hard to return with a level par score. The highlight of his day came when he made a brilliant up-and-down par save on the ninth hole after hitting his tee shot into the water.
“It was an adventure today. Everything happened. I had to make a couple of good saves because I got into trouble a few times from the tees. I still have a chance to win. I should be able to make birdies if I can keep the ball on the fairway,” said Kaske.
Scores after round 3 of the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open 2015 being played at the par 71, 6579 Yards Kurmitola GC course (am – denotes amateur):
201 – Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 66-67-68.
204 – Khalin JOSHI (IND) 71-68-65.
205 – Soomin LEE (KOR) 70-70-65.
206 – Janne KASKE (FIN) 68-67-71.
207 – Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 69-66-72, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 67-67-73.
208 – Om Prakash CHOUHAN (IND) 69-73-66, Hyungjoon LEE (KOR) 72-69-67, Dulal HOSSAIN (BAN) 73-63-72.
209 – LEE Sung (KOR) 72-70-67, Amardip MALIK (IND) 67-74-68, Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 66-74-69, Berry HENSON (USA) 71-67-71.
210 – Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) 74-67-69.
211 – Josh YOUNGER (AUS) 73-70-68, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 74-70-67.
212 – Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 70-74-68, Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 70-72-70, Sujjan SINGH (IND) 68-74-70, Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 73-68-71, LAM Chih Bing (SIN) 73-72-67, Rizal AMIN (MAS) 72-69-71, Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 72-69-71, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 67-73-72.