Davies tied for the lead
Challenge Tour graduate Rhys Davies shares the lead after round three of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Rising Welsh star Rhys Davies remained on course for a maiden career title at the Maybank Malaysian Open after earning a share of a one shot lead alongside Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat at the top of a tightly congested third round leaderboard.
Challenge Tour graduate Davies, 24, carded a one-under-par 71 to join fast finishing 20-year-old Kiradech, who birdied three of his final four holes of a 68, at 11-under-par following another humid energy-sapping day at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
Veteran trio KJ Choi (69), Soren Hansen (69) and in-form Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee (69) head the chasing pack alongside 18-year-old South Korean Noh Seung-yul (67) with Alejandro Canizares (71) and Johan Edfors (69) just a shot further adrift and Ignacio Garrido (71) rounding out the tight top 10 at eight under.
“It’s good pressure to be up there. If I shoot the best score tomorrow then I win, that’s a good thing,” said world number 135 Davies.
“There are a number of great players up there so it is up to me to worry about my own game and try not to worry about them. If I score lower than them then I will come out on top.”
Joint first round leader Davies earlier completed a three-under-par second round following Friday’s lighting delay to lead by two shots at the halfway mark, but slipped off the pace after shipping a double-bogey at the start of his back nine after hitting his tee shot into water.
But the two-time Challenge Tour winner earned a share of the lead to keep his bid for a wire-to-wire victory alive with a 30 foot birdie putt at the 17th.
And Davies, who actually cut his teeth on the Asian Tour in 2008 with three top 10 finishes before claiming second at the Thailand Open last year, missed out on claiming the outright lead as an eight foot effort at the last lipped out.
“My temperament has been good all week and I have listened to my mind and body to stay on top of things,” added a weary Davies, who played 25 holes today and consumed around 15 litres of water.
“I drove the ball well which is a big plus for me. I usually putt well and I did putt well. Not many went in, but I did hit a lot of them on line.”
World number 231 Kiradech capped his storming finish with a 10 foot conversion at the last and will look to build on the experience after holding a two-shot lead after the third round of the Asian Tour’s season-opening Asian Tour International last month before missing out on a maiden title following three top 10s last year.
“My driving was better, my ball striking has been improving these past three days and that has played a part in my good performance,” said Kiradech, who also led heading into the final round at the Selangor Masters last August.
“I need to build on my experiences and hope it will be better than my last two attempts.”
World number 96 Choi, who claimed his last title at the Johor Open in Malaysia last October, missed out on a chance to share the overnight lead after missing from eight feet at the last following a superb approach from a fairway bunker.
“I have put myself in position, I like where I am,” said the 39-year-old South Korean. “Yesterday and today I just sweated so much I feel weary. I just need to overcome the heat for one more day and try to close it out.
“I have a good rhythm going and knew to maintain that, but there are a lot of players crammed up there and it’s anybody’s game.”
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