Hansen joins Panuphol at top with hat-trick of late birdies

Denmark`s Anders Hansen recorded a hat-trick of birdies from the 15th hole to draw level with Thailand`s Panuphol Pittayarat at the top of the leaderboard after the third round of The Championship in Singapore on Saturday.

The 43-year-old Hansen, playing only his fourth event after undergoing wrist surgery, posted a bogey-free round of five-under-par 67 to join overnight leader Panuphol on 16-under at the $1.5 million European and Asian Tour event.

Panuphol, given the nickname `coconut` by his caddie father, continued to play well after making his first cut in four events on the Asian Tour this season and has topped the leaderboard on all three days of the tournament.

He suffered a bogey on the penultimate hole, a tricky par-three, at the Laguna National course to sign for a 69, with the leading pair sitting two strokes clear of American David Lipsky (70) and Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands (67).

Hansen started with a birdie on the opening hole and picked up another shot to make the turn on 34 before the three consecutive birdies elevated him into a share of the lead.

"I`m very pleased," Hansen, a three-time winner on the European Tour, told reporters. "I didn`t hit the ball that great today but I made a couple of good putts on the last few holes.

"I hit a lot of greens but I just didn`t hit it as close as I have done the last couple of days.

"It was nice to finish with those three birdies - it was a little more windy today so it was more tricky. It was a great finish.

"Every time you are up there you have to be pleased so I`m looking forward to tomorrow. I love competition and I love playing under the gun - it gets your attention."

France`s Gregory Bourdy (67) and England`s Chris Wood (68) share fifth spot on 13-under at an event that was moved from its original host in South Korea after organisers suffered "staging issues".
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by John O`Brien)

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