Kuala Lumpur, February 3: India’s Khalin Joshi and Berry Henson of the United States took advantage of opening eagles to stay in the title hunt after the third round of the Maybank Championship on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Joshi and Henson, who also eagled the last hole, fired matching seven-under-par 65s to trail co-leaders Jorge Campillo of Spain and world number 47 Dylan Frittelli of South Africa by a shot, at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Campillo and Frittelli both returned on 66s to set the pace on 15-under-par 201 in a crowded leaderboard at the US$3 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
The 52-year-old Prayad Marksaeng turned back the clock after posting a bogey-free 67 while Japanese heartthrob Ryo Ishikawa fired a sparkling 63 to share fifth place. Co-overnight leaders Phachara Khongwatmai (70) and Nino Bertasio (70), Hideto Tanihara (68) and Marc Warren (69) were also tied for fifth.
Joshi was delighted to be in the hunt for a first Asian Tour victory in his debut appearance at the Maybank Championship. The amiable Indian chipped in from 20 yards for an opening eagle and returned with five birdies to stay in the title hunt.
The 38-year-old Henson continued his fine form after finishing eighth and fourth in Singapore and Myanmar respectively in the last two weeks. He has enjoyed an amazing run so far after returning from a wrist injury where he was side-lined for 18 months.
Frittelli, who won the Mauritius Open in December where he defeated Arjun Atwal in a play-off, continued his hot form. He also finished tied 19th and tied sixth place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai before the Maybank Championship to break into the top-50 in the world.
Campillo of Spain eagled the first hole from 35 feet before marking his card with four birdies to head into the final 18 holes with a fighting chance to win his career’s first victory.
Did you know?
- This is Frittelli’s first Maybank Championship appearance. He enjoyed a superb 2017 season where he won twice. Since his win in Mauritius last December, he has battled tooth-and-nail to break into the top-50 in the world.
- After 54 holes, Frittelli has only dropped two bogeys. He was flawless in his round of six birdies today.
- This is Campillo’s third appearance at the Maybank Championship. He finished tied fourth in 2016 and tied 55th in last year’s showpiece.
- Joshi finished 52nd on the Order of Merit last season to secure a full Asian Tour card for the first time in his career. He has missed the cut five times in his last six appearances but has rediscovered his form this week.
- His best finish on the Asian Tour was finishing second last year at the Take Solutions Masters on his home ground in Bengaluru, India.
- Henson won his first Asian Tour title at the 2011 Philippines Open. He is the only player today to shoot two eagles for a round of 65 which was only marred by a double bogey on the 14th hole.
- He holed his first eagle from five feet and enjoyed a standing ovation on the 18th when he rolled in his 10-foot eagle putt.
- Prayad is in contention for an 11th Asian Tour title. The Thai veteran changed to a new driver and putter on Friday which helped him to a second round 65 and a 67 today.
- Overnight co-leader Phachara posted three birdies in seven holes. He bogeyed the ninth hole and returned with nine straight pars to trail the leaders by two shots.
- Ryan Fox of New Zealand holed-out for a magical albatross on the first hole with a six-iron from 213 yards. It was the Maybank Championship’s first albatross and 25th on the Asian Tour.
- Interestingly, the opening hole at Saujana was playing the easiest today as players recorded six eagles, one albatross, 45 birdies, 27 pars and only two bogeys.
Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) – Third Round 66 (-6), Total 201 (-15)
It was a good round. I started off a bit slow but some good birdies during the middle part of the round and that kept me going.
I said it yesterday, just patience on the greens. I think a lot of the guys are getting frustrated with the greens and I’m just trying to stay as positive as I can, and just try and speak to them nice and get the ball to go in the hole.
I don’t normally get animated but I just thought those two putts were going in and that’s why I kind had a reaction there but I’m just going to try keep doing that, get as close as I can and roll the putt in and see what happens at the end of tomorrow.
It is super bunched. A lot of Japanese guys up there, a few other Spanish guys, Jorge played great today with me and I’m not sure if we will be drawn together tomorrow but I’m excited to mix it up.
Jorge Campillo (Esp) – Third Round 66 (-6), Total 201 (-15)
It was good. I played solid for most of the round. I had a few tough holes but I managed to make the putts so overall I played solid. It is a good day.
(Eagle on hole 1) I hit a perfect driver and a nice six iron to about four or five metres and made that one. Always nice to start with eagle.
I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. It is a nice position to be and I’m excited.
Khalin Joshi (Ind) – Third Round 65 (-7), Total 202 (-14)
I feel good to play a bogey-free Saturday. I haven’t seen a Saturday in two week so I was really excited to go out there and post a good number. I’ve been making small errors lately but I found some form going into Thursday so I’m feeling good. Things are turning around and the results are showing.
I’m driving the ball well and I’m holing the four, five footer putts. My short game and driving are really showing good results. It is a bunched up leaderboard so you want to go out there and shoot a low number.
It was good to have the start I did. It made me loose a bit. (On the eagle) I hit it short of the green but I hit a perfect chip from about 20 yards into the hole. I had about 237 yards to the hole and I hit a hybrid.
I’m really looking forward to the final 18 holes because my game has finally showed up.
Berry Henson (Usa) – Third Round 65 (-7), Total 202 (-14)
I played great today, you know, I still have one more day, I feel great and my game is good. I am just enjoying playing golf again.
(On the double bogey) I played a pretty safe shot and it came out swirly out of the rough and didn’t save bogey. But I knew I had a couple of birdie holes coming up so I wasn’t too worried about it.
On the first hole, I hit a bomb drive down the middle of the fairway, had about 215 meters, perfect 4-iron for me to the green and just stuck it to five feet and made that putt.
On the 18th hole , I hit a nice drive about down the right side and got a good bounce to the middle of the fairway, had 225 meters to the hole and I hit a 5-iron cut around the trees and got it to about 10 feet and with an easy putt.
I put in a lot of work after I got injured. I am super excited to be back on the Asian tour and to play again. After this week I think I’m going to need a long break since I have been playing a lot of golf since the start of the season.
Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) – Third Round 67 (-5), Total 203 (-13)
I’m very happy because I changed to a new driver and putter on Friday. I’m happy that I changed my putter because the head is heavier. It helps with the putting. The driver has also helped me find more fairways. You need straight drivers here to have a good score. I’ve been struggling with the putter in the last two weeks so that’s why I decided to change.
Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) – Third Round 70 (-2), Total 203 (-13)
I started very good on the first nine but I missed a few putts on the back. Golf is like this but I’m very happy with my two-under. My game plan is to shoot under-par every day and I’ve done that the last three days.
If I can make putts, anything can happen. Honestly, I’m not feeling very confident because of my putter. On the first day, I struggled with my long irons and started to do well after practising. So now I will go to the practice greens and work on my putting.
Scores after round 3 of the Maybank Championship being played at the par 72, 7135 Yards Saujana GCC course (am – denotes amateur):
201 – Jorge CAMPILLO (ESP) 69-66-66, Dylan FRITTELLI (RSA) 69-66-66.
202 – Berry HENSON (USA) 69-68-65, Khalin JOSHI (IND) 67-70-65.
203 – Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 71-65-67, Ryo ISHIKAWA (JPN) 74-66-63, Hideto TANIHARA (JPN) 71-64-68, Marc WARREN (SCO) 68-66-69, Nino BERTASIO (ITA) 68-65-70, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 68-65-70.
204 – Yusaku MIYAZATO (JPN) 71-67-66, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 70-67-67, Mike LORENZO-VERA (FRA) 66-71-67, Paul PETERSON (USA) 69-70-65, Benjamin HEBERT (FRA) 69-70-65, Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 70-70-64, Ryan FOX (NZL) 68-68-68, Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 72-62-70.
205 – Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 70-69-66, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 68-71-66, Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 69-67-69, Thomas BJORN (DEN) 68-68-69, Thomas DETRY (BEL) 68-68-69, Romain WATTEL (FRA) 67-73-65, Yuta IKEDA (JPN) 70-64-71.
206 – Arjun ATWAL (IND) 67-71-68, Andrew JOHNSTON (ENG) 67-71-68, Scott JAMIESON (SCO) 68-69-69, Gavin GREEN (MAS) 68-69-69, Joost LUITEN (NED) 72-68-66, Maximilian KIEFFER (GER) 69-66-71, David LIPSKY (USA) 67-68-71, Chris PAISLEY (ENG) 65-69-72.
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