Lee leaps into Malaysia lead
Soomin Lee fired nine birdies for a sparkling seven-under-par 64 and a three-shot lead after the third round of the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Korean, playing in his second season on the Asian Tour, rolled in six birdies in eight holes on the back nine at Royal Selangor Golf Club to take over the lead on 15-under-par 198 in the event co-sanctioned with the European Tour.
Australia's Marcus Fraser, a winner on the Asian Tour, posted a 66 to trail in second place while overnight leader Nathan Holman slipped to third place following a triple bogey on the last as he settled for a 73.
Filipino rising star Miguel Tabuena, Japan's Masahiro Kawamura and Jorge Campillo of Spain share fourth place on 203, five shots off the lead.
The talented Lee, playing in only his second co-sanctioned event after finishing third in Hong Kong last season, charged into contention by needing only 28 putts.
After finishing tied seventh in the last two events on the Asian Tour, Lee plans to stay grounded in his search for a first victory at the Maybank Championship Malaysia.
"It was very exciting. I had a good feeling this week because I like playing on this course. I hit many important iron shots today. I tried to putt close to the hole but it went in, so I gained some confidence on the greens," said Lee.
"I didn't look at the scoreboard. I was really enjoying my round. After making birdie, I gained more confidence and continued to make more birdies. I feel a little bit nervous thinking about the final round but I will try my best. This weekend will be very good for my golf life," he added.
Australia's Fraser fired a flawless round highlighted by five birdies and kept up his chase to end a six-year title drought after making a crucial up-and-down on the last hole.
"The up and down on the last was pretty key, it was a straightforward putt – even though it was from 15 feet. I knew the line was a ball outside left and down grain, the key was just to make sure I got it there and luckily it had just enough legs.
"I've had a fair few chances (to win) without managing to get the job done, so it's been frustrating but hopefully I can get over the line tomorrow," said Fraser.
After fighting back from being three over through 10 holes, Holman was disappointed to drop three shots on the last hole when his approach shot found the water hazard.
"I played pretty scrappy. I then had a chance to finish quite close to the lead and played quite nice on the back nine so it's lucky you don't win golf tournaments on a Saturday. There was still a lot of good, there wasn't too much bad, there were a few bogeys so still lots of good, plenty of positives to take and I'll move on tomorrow," said Holman.
After struggling with food poisoning over the past few days, a healthier Tabuena drained several long putts at the start of his third round before falling behind playing partner Lee.
"I got off to a good start, I was two under after two. But I didn't like how I finished the round. I finished weak and that's not how you win tournaments. You have to come out clutch and make birdies in the last few holes. Hopefully I will do that tomorrow," said Tabuena.
"I'm still satisfied with my position. I'm still in position to win and that's where you want to be. Hopefully I can get off to a good start tomorrow and keep it going."
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand withdrew from the penultimate round of the event due to illness.
Rory McIlroy not impressed as Brooks Koepka becomes latest big name to join LIV
The world number two labelled the players who have joined the new series as “duplicitous” for the way they have handled their breakaway.
R&A confirms LIV Golf Series players will be allowed to compete at Open
The 150th Open Championship will get underway at St Andrews in three weeks’ time.
Matt Fitzpatrick turns to other major winners for advice on dealing with fame
Fitzpatrick won the US Open on Sunday.
Brooks Koepka set to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series
Koepka’s brother Chase played in the opening event at Centurion Club earlier this month.
Gary Player urges Matt Fitzpatrick to avoid ‘poison’ of modern-day coaching
Player tells US Open champion Fitzpatrick to learn from mistakes of recent major winners, saying: “The teaching today is the worst it has ever been.”
Matt Fitzpatrick’s caddie Billy Foster ready for ‘long party’ after US Open win
Foster won his first major after a 40-year career which includes spells working for the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.
Matt Fitzpatrick backed to become a dominant force after winning first major
The Englishman claimed his first major title at Brookline.
Matt Fitzpatrick: A Blade with plenty of support who can really cut it
The Sheffield golfer landed his first major – and first professional win in America – at Brookline on Sunday.
Mixed emotions for Rory McIlroy after US Open disappointment
McIlroy finished joint fifth at Brookline.
Golfing world and beyond react to Matt Fitzpatrick’s US Open victory
The 27-year-old held off Will Zalatoris and world number one Scottie Scheffler to win by one stroke at Brookline.