Oct 14, 2017: American Pat Perez fired a third round eight-under-par 64 under sweltering heat to extend his overnight advantage to four shots at the CIMB Classic on Saturday.
The American’s best finish at the Malaysian showpiece was a ninth-place finish at the 2012 edition. But having produced a masterclass in putting at the TPC Kuala Lumpur all-week, Perez remains well on course to become the oldest winner in the CIMB Classic at 41 years old.
Perez raced out with an outward 33 and continued his birdie blitz on holes 10 and 12 after the turn. A bogey on 13 did little to dent his title aspirations as the American would storm home with four birdies in his closing five holes.
Perez’s three-day total of 21-under-par 195 means he will head into the final round of the US$7 million event in pole position with compatriot Xander Schauffele in second place after carding a 67.
Korea’s Sung Kang, a one-time Asian Tour winner, returned with a 65 to take third place while Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who has two top-five results in the event, and Keegan Bradley of the United States are tied for fourth on 201.
India’s Anirban Lahiri staged his comeback with a 64 to move into sixth place having started his round in tied-23rd place while Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond continued his fairy tale run with a 66 to end the day tied for seventh with Ollie Schniederjans of the United States.
Did you know?
- Perez set the 54-hole scoring record with a 21-under-par 195 total, one shot better than Justin Thomas’ and Brendan Steele’s scores last year.
- He credits a hot putter this week for his superb form. He tops the putting stats with an average of 1.5 putts. He has no three putts.
- Perez has only dropped two bogeys in 54 holes on the par-4 12th and 13th holes.
- This is his fifth appearance at the CIMB Classic. His best result in the tournament was in ninth place in 2012 but on a different golf course.
- Perez is coming off his best season on the PGA Tour where he won once and finished a career high of 15th on the FedExCup ranking.
- The signs look good for Perez as five out of seven players who have led or co-led after the third round of the CIMB Classic have gone on to win the event.
- Perez, 41, is in the running to become the oldest champion in the CIMB Classic. Bo Van Pelt is currently the oldest winner at the age of 36 when he won in 2011.
- The temperature soared to a high of 31 degrees Celsius at the TPC Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
- Like Perez, Schauffele has dropped only two bogeys this week on the par-four sixth hole (round two) and par-four first hole (round three).
- He fired an eagle, his second in the tournament, on the par-5 10th hole. He rifled a five-iron from 250 yards before holing an 18-foot eagle putt.
- Schauffele is making his first start at the CIMB Classic. He is also playing in his first event since being voted as the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year after winning The Greenbrier Classic and TOUR Championship.
- Kang is aiming to become the first Asian to win the CIMB Classic. He trails Perez by five shots after trading seven birdies and one eagle against two bogeys. He birdied the last two holes to stay in the title hunt.
- He won his first Asian Tour title at the 2013 CJ Invitational hosted by KJ Choi on home soil.
- Matsuyama has finished inside the top-five at the CIMB Classic twice. He was fifth in 2015 and second last year. He is currently six shots back of the lead.
- He is the highest ranked player in the elite field in third place on the Official World Golf Ranking.
- Korea’s Whee Kim made an ace at the 208-yard par-3 15th hole, the first of his PGA TOUR career and the second of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season. The-hole-in-one earned Kim a BMW 740Le xDrive Hybrid, which was presented to him by Han Sang Yun, Managing Director/CEO of BMW Malaysia after the round. This is the fourth consecutive year that an ace has been recorded at the CIMB Classic.