MANILA (Reuters) - Singapore veteran Mardan Mamat will take a four shot lead into the final round of the Asian Tour’s $1 million Manila Masters after firing a super six-under-par 66 on Saturday.
The 47-year-old began the third round tied at the top with South Korean Wang Jeung-hun (77) but the Singaporean burst out of the blocks with four straight birdies to move clear.
Further birdie threes came at the ninth and 11th before he dropped his first shot of the day at the 12th only to get it back at the par-five last for a three-day total of 17-under 199.
“I got off to a great start which kind of gave me a good cushion,” Mamat said.
“I kept myself in my own zone. I knew I had to stay calm to maintain my lead. I had to keep myself comfortable which is key for me to playing well. I managed to do that and I am happy.”
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat will join Mamat in the final group on Sunday after the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner hit a 68 on Saturday for his third round in the 60s.
Frenchman Lionel Weber hit a brilliant 64 to jump up to third on 12-under while American Berry Henson (64) and Nicholas Fung (68) of Malaysia were on 10-under, seven back of Mamat.
The Singaporean has won three times on Asian Tour, including the 2012 Philippine Open, but has failed to hit the heights this year and is 74th in the Order of Merit race with the top 60 retaining playing privileges for next season.
“I’ve been struggling with my game all these while so it would mean a lot for me to win this tournament. I think I would move to the Philippines if I can win here again,” Mamat joked.
Reporting by Patrick Johnston; editing by Sudipto Ganguly