Feb 11, 2017: Reigning Masters Tournament champion Danny Willett streaked into a three-shot third round lead after shooting a five-under-par 67 at the Maybank Championship on Sunday. India’s Anirban Lahiri lying in top 10 at T9.
The 29-year-old Englishman, who trailed by one stroke overnight, sank six birdies, including at the final two holes, at Saujana Golf and Country Club to lead from 2015 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion David Lipsky of the United States, who returned a 68.
Frenchman Alexander Levy fired a 67 on another sun-kissed day at the US$3 million tournament co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour for third place, four back of Willett while Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat (66) and K.T. Kim of Korea (69) were amongst those bunched in equal fourth position, five strokes back.
Indian star Anirban Lahiri, the 2015 Asian Tour number one, missed a bunch of putts in his round of 69 to end the third round in a share of ninth position.
“Quite disappointed honestly. I played really well to start the round but just never got my putter going. Missed a bunch of putts on the front nine inside of five feet and that really killed the momentum. Then it got really windy from the middle part of the round till the end and it was important to get a really good start and I couldn’t take advantage of that. Still a good grind. I fought hard and came home stronger than what I have done in the past, so that’s a positive step.
Let’s hope so. I feel like I’ve been putting well. Just feel like I got off to a shaky start as I missed a couple of five footers and that threw me off. I’m sure the game is feeling good and if I can roll more in tomorrow, I might still have a chance.
I’m four back now, I’m not sure where I’ll finish by the end of the day. I would have liked to finished two or three shots within the lead. It’s quite disappointing as I played really well. But I’ll go into tomorrow feeling positive. There are a lot of things that I’m doing well and I’ve got to do that again.” , said Anirban.
Other Indian trio Shubhankar Sharma, Gaganjeet Bhullar, and Shiv Kapur consistent in holding their Top 20 positions at T11, T12, and T16. And Rashid khan also made six spot adjustment in leaderboard and tied at T23.
Willett showed his class on golf’s “Moving Day” to lead on 16-under-par 200 but was somewhat fortuitous on the par five 18th hole when his approach shot ended behind a spectator’s marquee before going on to make an unlikely birdie.
Interesting Facts for the Day
- Willett was the only player in the top-15 to birdie the closing two holes in his round of 67, which included four other birdies against a lone bogey.
- Willett has needed only 1.61 putts per greens in regulation through three rounds, ranking first in this stat category. He has also hit 81.4% greens in regulation at Saujana, which he was attached as its touring professional for several years.
- Willett is chasing his sixth European Tour victory on Sunday. He won twice last season, including the Masters Tournament for his first Major victory.
- Willett led or was tied for the lead going into the final round in three of his tournament wins in Germany, South Africa and Dubai.
- In 54 holes, Willett has dropped only two bogeys and accumulated 18 birdies.
- Lipsky is chasing his third Asian Tour victory and second European Tour title.
- He shot five birdies on his card, including three on the par five holes.
- The last winner at Saujana in 2009 was Korean-American Anthony Kang. Lipsky, who was the Asian Tour number on 2015, is also Korean-American.
- Panuphol shot seven birdies during his third round of 66. It was also his best third round score in four tournaments this season. He shot 74, 73, 73 in Singapore, Myanmar and Bangladesh respectively in the third round.
- Panuphol, nicknamed “Coconut”, finished fourth in Bangladesh last Sunday on his 24th birthday. He is chasing a first Asian Tour victory.
- Kim shot four birdies against a lone bogey. He did not birdie any of the par five holes. He was six under on the par fives entering the third round.
- Kim has won 13 times on the Japan Golf Tour, including three times last year, and twice on the Asian Tour. He is chasing a first European Tour-sanctioned victory.
- Overnight leader Bernd Wiesberger, who shot nine straight birdies on Friday, carded a 73 to fall into tied fourth place on 205.
Scores after round 3 of the Maybank Championship being played at the par 72, 7186 Yards Saujana GCC course (am – denotes amateur):
200 – Danny WILLETT (ENG) 66-67-67.
203 – David LIPSKY (USA) 68-67-68.
204 – Alexander LEVY (FRA) 69-68-67.
205 – Gregory HAVRET (FRA) 69-70-66, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 70-69-66, K.T. KIM (KOR) 68-68-69, Mike LORENZO-VERA (FRA) 70-65-70, Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT) 69-63-73.
206 – Fabrizio ZANOTTI (PAR) 70-69-67, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 69-68-69.
207 – Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 68-68-71.
208 – LI Hao-tong (CHN) 71-69-68, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 73-68-67, Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 71-68-69, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 66-72-70.
209 – Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 65-75-69, Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) 72-68-69, Paul PETERSON (USA) 71-70-68, Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 72-67-70, Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 73-66-70, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 70-67-72, Haydn PORTEOUS (RSA) 70-72-67.
210 – Renato PARATORE (ITA) 69-71-70, Rashid KHAN (IND) 72-68-70, Ben LEONG (MAS) 70-71-69, Marc WARREN (SCO) 63-75-72, Sam BRAZEL (AUS) 66-71-73, Marcel SIEM (GER) 66-71-73.