Kuala Lumpur: American Ben Crane birdied three of his final four holes to grab a two-shot lead after the third round of the co-sanctioned Asia Pacific Classic on Saturday.
Crane’s round of five-under-par 66 gave him a three round total of 197, 16-under, at the PGA Tour and Asian Tour event ahead of Sweden’s Carl Pettersson, who fired a matching 66.
“I’m pretty excited with where my game is at,” Crane said after his round at the $6 million tournament at the Mines Resort and Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’ve been working hard on getting my mind in the right place. I’m just trying to play freely and trying to play like when I was playing like a kid.
“I haven’t been in this position a lot. But I’m thrilled to be here. Obviously there’s no position I’d rather be in but certainly, I’ll pray tonight for peace and relaxation and come out tomorrow to enjoy this experience.”
Crane, 34, is aiming for his fourth PGA Tour title and showed his patience in tricky conditions which included a thunderstorm that delayed the afternoon’s play by 61 minutes.
Singapore’s Mardan Mamat (65), England’s Brian Davis (66) and Luke Donald (67) and the American duo of Ryan Moore (69) and Ricky Barnes (69) were tied third, trailing by four strokes.
Thai Pariya Junhasavasdikul, joint leader at the halfway stage, struggled with an even-par round of 71, and will begin Sunday’s final round five strokes behind the leader.
Multiple major winner Ernie Els of South Africa carded a two-under-par 69 to lie tied for 15th.