Yusaku Miyazato of Japan posted a third round even-par 71 in blustery conditions to maintain his lead at the US$750,000 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open on Saturday.
Miyazato, a three-time winner in Japan, fought hard to stay on top the leaderboard on 11-under-par 202 as K.T. Kim of Korea trailed by one shot after holing a birdie on the 18th hole for a 68 at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club.
Miyazato, who led by three shots at the start of the day, sank a huge curling eagle putt on the par-five fourth hole to extend his lead before dropping his first bogey of the tournament on hole eight.
His only birdie came on the 14th hole which was sandwiched between two bogeys but the older brother to LPGA star Ai held on to his lead as he searches for a first win outside of Japan.
Kim, a 13-time winner in Japan, was enjoying a hot run of five birdies in 12 holes before losing focus in the humidity as he bogeyed holes 13, 14 and 16.
Qualifying School graduate Sihwan Kim, the last player to enter the elite field, made full use of his playing opportunity as he carded a 68 to trail by two shots and stay in the hunt for a first Asian Tour victory.
Todd Sinnott of Australia, also an Asian Tour rookie, equalled the course record of 64 as he tied in fourth place alongside Carlos Pigem (68) of Spain and Miguel Tabuena (69) of the Philippines on matching 205s. They trail Miyazato by three shots.
Interesting facts of the day:
- Yusaku Miyazato holed a huge left to right 30-foot eagle putt on the par-five fourth hole. He was only the second player after Todd Sinnott to hole an eagle in round three.
- Miyazato has won an event in Japan every year since 2013. If he wins tomorrow, it will be his first victory outside of Japan.
- K.T. Kim is a multiple winner in Japan but outside of the country, he has only tasted victory in Korea and Thailand.
- Sihwan Kim was the last player to qualify for the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open. The Korean-American is the second player alongside Todd Sinnott to be ranked inside the top-five and fighting for a first career win.
- Sinnott drove the ball to 11-feet on the par-four 357-yard 14th hole and sank the eagle putt. It was his second eagle in the tournament.
Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) – Third Round 71 (E), Total 202 (-11)
My tee shots were not good and it was so difficult to play in this wind. I couldn’t read where the wind was blowing. The eagle was lucky but I had a good read and putt. That was a good eagle for me.
This morning I woke up at 6.30am but I had a good sleep. This is an important event and I’ll try to win. I think I need to be more aggressive if I want to win. Let’s see what happens.
Sihwan Kim (Kor) – Third round 68 (-3), Total 204 (-9)
I had the same plan the whole week and stuck to the plan. My putting fell so that’s about it. I’m just happy I get to play this week (last player to enter the field). I knew I was playing next week so this is good preparation for next week. It is too cold to play in Korea.
It is my first Asian Tour event. It is a little hot but other than that it is great. I’ll be sticking to the same plan and be patient.
My putting was really good. With the wind kicking up, it is tough to hit fairways and greens. I made crucial up-and-downs and holed good putts. The first two birdies were well out from 15 feet. It felt pretty good to start with two birdies.
Miguel Tabuena (Phi) – Third Round 69 (-2), Total 205 (-8)
It was tough today especially on the par threes. It was playing pretty long and the wind kept switching directions. I had a dull front nine but I told myself to keep hitting decent shots and keep putting the ball on the greens as I’ve been putting well.
I’ve been playing well with the way I’ve been playing so I don’t see why I should change my game plan. If I have to be more aggressive tomorrow, I know I can so that’s a good weapon to have.
It is a golf tournament and I would love to win it. I don’t see why I can’t win it. I’ll do everything I can and I won’t stop fighting until the last hole. It won’t be easy tomorrow. Hopefully I can put some pressure of them after the front nine.
Todd Sinnott (Aus) – Third Round 64 (-7), Total 205 (-8)
It was a nice round. Over the first two days I hit six balls into the water so my main objective today was not to hit any balls into the water. I managed to do that and the scores reflected that.
I’m playing well and I just needed to get rid of the bad shots. I focussed on keeping the ball in play and not making any stupid mistakes. The greens are really firm and that’s the sort of golf I like to play because you need to think about your second shots.
I’m looking forward to the final round. Hopefully I can play the same way I did today and move up the leaderboard. I didn’t expect to shoot such a low round but I know I’m playing really well.
Scores after round 3 of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open 2017 being played at the par 71, 7103 Yards Pun Hlaing GC course (am – denotes amateur):
202 – Yusaku MIYAZATO (JPN) 67-64-71.
203 – K.T. KIM (KOR) 66-69-68.
204 – Sihwan KIM (USA) 66-70-68.
205 – Todd SINNOTT (AUS) 72-69-64, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 70-67-68, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 67-69-69.
206 – Adam BLAND (AUS) 73-67-66, Daniel CHOPRA (SWE) 67-71-68, David OH (USA) 70-67-69, Kyungnam KANG (KOR) 69-67-70.
207 – Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 70-68-69, Satoshi KODAIRA (JPN) 70-68-69, Azuma YANO (JPN) 65-72-70.
208 – HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 72-69-67, Michio MATSUMURA (JPN) 69-67-72, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 71-65-72, Keith HORNE (RSA) 66-68-74.
209 – Katsumasa MIYAMOTO (JPN) 69-71-69, Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 69-70-70, Sungjae IM (KOR) 70-69-70, Chan KIM (USA) 68-71-70, Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 68-70-71, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 67-70-72, Masanori KOBAYASHI (JPN) 68-69-72, Rikuya HOSHINO (JPN) 69-68-72, Junggon HWANG (KOR) 66-70-73.