Jake Stirling of Australia fired a sparkling 10-under-par 62 under tough scoring conditions to grab a three-shot lead in the penultimate round of the PGM Rahman Putra Championship on Friday.
Stirling returned in the morning to complete the remaining five holes in his second round and was four shots off the pace before putting up a near perfect round which included one eagle, nine birdies and a lone bogey for a three-day total of 19-under-par 197 at the Rahman Putra Golf Club.
Overnight leader Masaru Takahashi of Japan settled for second place following a 69 while American Jarin Todd carded a 66 to take third place on 201 at the RM250,000 (approximately US$69,250) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
South African Mathiam Keyser registered a 67 to sit in fourth place on 207 while New Zealander Sean Riordan, Nirun Sae-Ueng of Thailand and Japan’s Mitsuhiko Hashizume stayed a further shot back in fifth place following rounds of 68, 69 and 70 respectively.
Stirling credited his hot putter and solid iron-play for a stunning round which put him in prime position for a maiden victory on the burgeoning Tour.
“I played 23 holes in total today but I am really happy with my round. The course is playing longer than usual but I played it well. I putted well and I played my irons and wedges well too. I was hitting it good off the tee. It was not the best conditions to play after the rain this morning but I am happy to be in a good position for tomorrow,” said Stirling.
Stirling came close to his breakthrough victory in Chinese Taipei earlier in March after battling his way into a four-way playoff but was left to finish tied-second after bowing out from the second extra hole.
“I will stick to the same strategy tomorrow and we will see how it goes. I will tell myself to keep calm and stay in the process. My game’s in a good shape now. I will get myself ready for the final round tomorrow,” added the 25-year-old Australian, who sits in 11th place on the current ADT Order of Merit thanks to two top-10s in four starts.
The winner of the PGM Rahman Putra Championship will take home a prize purse of US$12,118 and receive six OWGR points while the top six players and ties also earn points based on a sliding scale.
Leading third round scores
197 – Jake STIRLING (AUS) 67-68-62
200 – Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 67-64-69
201 – Jarin TODD (USA) 70-65-66
207 – Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 71-69-67
208 – Sean RIORDAN (NZL) 71-69-68, Nirun SAE-UENG (THA) 69-70-69, Mitsuhiko HASHIZUME (JPN) 69-69-70
209 – Grant JACKSON (ENG) 66-75-68, Kemarol BAHARIN (MAS) 68-72-69, Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 72-68-69, M.Sasidaran (MAS) 68-68-73