taifongJordan Sherratt of Australia recovered from a slow start to stay on track to win his first career title after shooting a one-under-par 71 in the third round of the Taifong Open on Saturday.

The 27-year-old totalled 10-under-par 206 and will need to hold his ground against Thailand’s Natthapong Niyomchon, who fired a 69 to trail by one shot in the US$160,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.

Yeh Wei-tze of Chinese Taipei shot a 69 to charge into contention on a 208 total while local hopes Sung Mao-chang, Kao Teng and Lee Chieh-po were a further shot back in tied fourth place alongside India’s Khalin Joshi at the Taifong Golf Club.

Sherratt, who turned professional in 2010, got off to a slow start with bogeys on one and three but steadied ship with a pair of birdies after the turn. Another two more birdies against one bogey earned him a slender one-shot lead heading into the final round.

“It feels good to be in the lead. I didn’t play my best on the front nine but I started to feel okay and eased back into the round when I birdied 10 and 11 from 10 feet. The putter let me down a few times today so hopefully I don’t three putt as many holes on the last day,” he said.

Without a win so far, Sherratt reckons that he needs to stay patient to stand a chance to win. “I need to try and stay patient like what I’ve been doing. I’ve never really thought about why I haven’t won yet but I’ll go out there tomorrow and see what happens. I try to be relaxed but sometimes I’m fuming on the inside,” he laughed.

The 26-year-old Natthapong turned in 32 and was cruising along nicely until a poor tee shot resulted in a double bogey on the 16th hole.

The view of the Chang Hwa city from the Taifong Golf Club will serve as a stress reliever for the Thai who is determined to secure a first professional win since joining the play-for-pay ranks in 2009.

“I like this golf course a lot. The view of the city is very good and it makes me focus better. I feel very comfortable here so I really want to be a champion,” said Natthapong.

India’s Joshi was on nine-under after 17 holes but struggled to escape from the greenside bunker in two attempts which caused him to drop two shots and settle for a 70. He is three shots back from the leader.

“I was playing really well but double bogeyed the last hole from the centre fairway. Overall I felt that I played better. I just need to stay focus and I think I can go low in the final round. I’ll just play my own game tomorrow,” said the 22-year-old.

Since it was inaugurated in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in 2014. The ADT has announced a provisional 2015 schedule of a minimum 24 tournaments with several more to be announced in due course.

The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.

With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com


Leading third round scores:

206 – Jordan SHERRATT (AUS) 68 67 71

207 – Natthapong NIYOMCHON (THA) 69 69 69

208 – YEH Wei-tze (TWN) 73 66 69

209 – SUNG Mao-chang (TWN) 70 70 69, Khalin JOSHI (IND) 66 73 70, KAO Teng (TWN) 72 67 70, LEE Chieh-po (TWN) 69 68 72

210 – Pijit PETCHKASEM (THA) 70 67 73

211 – Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 71 70 70, Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA) 68 72 71, Casey O’TOOLE (USA) 66 74 71

212 – Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 70 71 71, Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA) 73 68 71, HSU Hao-sheng (TWN) 73 71 68, Darren TAN (AUS) 69 72 71, Panuwat MUENLEK (THA) 75 70 67, Sejun YOON (USA) 69 70 73, LU Wei-chih (TWN) 69 69 74, Arie Irawan (MAS) 74 71 67

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