South Africa’s Shaun Norris left the chasing pack in his wake by storming up the leaderboard with a sensational 11-under-par 61 after the third round of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open on Saturday.
Norris, a one-time Asian Tour winner, opened up a commanding seven-shot lead over the rest of his rivals with his three day total of 23-under-par 193 at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.
Japan’s Azuma Yano also provided the day’s other highlight when he sank his career’s first albatross on 14 which moved him up to second place alongside India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia, and Korea’s Jeunghun Wang and Junwon Park at Myanmar’s richest sporting event.
Norris was a man on fire starting from the par-four first. He set the blistering pace with six birdies and an eagle through eight holes before a lone bogey on nine momentarily put the brakes on his charge.
“I was not very sure about the yardage there and the last place you want to be on the greens is to be far away from the pin. I basically bailed out on that shot, left it to the right of the green and did not get a good up and down,” said Norris.
After turning in 29, the South African enjoyed another sparkling homeward-nine where he marked his card with another four birdies on holes 11, 13, 15 and 17.
“It was definitely a very exciting day. Right from the start, everything went well. I could read the line and was striking it well, hitting the ball into places which I wanted it to be.
“I was always thinking of that magical 59. I hit a good putt on 16 but only managed a par. Unfortunately the wind turned on us on 18 so I couldn’t really go for it as it was out of reach,” said Norris.
Yano enjoyed a defining moment in his career with his first albatross at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
The Japanese used his seven-iron to perfection on the par-five 14 where his drive landed within 10 feet short of the pin.
“I knew I would reach the green after hitting the ball. But I didn’t realise the ball would land so close to the pin.
“Keeping the ball on the fairways was tough today but I managed to stay patient and my game really lifted off after that albatross where I had another two birdies on 15 and 18,” said Yano.
Wang meanwhile believed the contest is far from over despite Norris’ superior advantage.
The Korean has only dropped one shot all week and is relishing the final day challenge.
“In golf, it’s never over until the last putt, so we’ll see. I played really well today and I have no regrets. Even though the greens are hard and bumpy, I still managed to do well. I’ll try my best tomorrow just like what I did that today,” said Wang.
Leading Scores after round 3 of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open 2016 being played at the par 72, 7218 Yards Royal Mingalardon GcC course (am – denotes amateur):
193 – Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 66-66-61.
200 – Junwon PARK (KOR) 73-64-63, Azuma YANO (JPN) 66-68-66, Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 66-68-66, S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 66-66-68.
203 – Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 71-66-66, Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS) 69-67-67, Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 68-68-67, Ryutaro NAGANO (JPN) 71-65-67, Danny CHIA (MAS) 65-70-68, Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 71-69-63.
204 – Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 68-70-66, Yasunobu FUKUNAGA (JPN) 70-68-66, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 67-70-67, Wonjoon LEE (AUS) 71-66-67, Keith HORNE (RSA) 72-63-69, Younghan SONG (KOR) 67-68-69, Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 66-67-71.
205 – Soomin LEE (KOR) 71-66-68, Arjun ATWAL (IND) 68-67-70, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 69-65-71, Rashid KHAN (IND) 67-66-72.
206 – Berry HENSON (USA) 70-68-68, Yuta IKEDA (JPN) 69-69-68, Yosuke TSUKADA (JPN) 69-69-68, Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 68-69-69, Dodge KEMMER (USA) 68-70-68, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 69-69-68, Narutoshi YAMAOKA (JPN) 68-69-69, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 72-67-67, K.T. KIM (KOR) 69-66-71.