Danny Chia played his way into contention at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic with a strong finish in the third round, birdieing four of his last five holes to move up the leaderboard into joint fifth place on 11-under-par.
The Malaysian number one is five shots behind leader Bo Van Pelt of the United States, who carded a four-under-par 67. Another American, Jeff Overton, is in second place on 15-under-par after coming in with a 69.
Swede Fredrik Jacobson and American Mark Wilson share third spot on 13-under-par after rounds of 71 and 67 respectively, while tied with Chia on 11-under-par are former world No. 1 Vijay Singh of Fiji and Jason Dufner of the United States.
Chia was extremely pleased with his bogey-free round, especially with how he kept his patience after missing a string of birdie putts following his opening birdie at the third hole.
“I think the thing I’m most happy about today was my patience. After the birdie on the third hole, I wasn’t making any more birdie putts, so I just kept telling myself to be patient and hopefully the birdies will come. And they did in the last five holes,” said Chia, who played with former world No. 1 Vijay Singh and will do so again in the final round.
Van Pelt meanwhile recovered from bogeys on his first two holes to nail six birdies, including three on the trot from 15 to 17, to take the lead with one round to go.
“Obviously, any time you’re near the lead with 18 to go, you’re excited. That’s all you can ask for, to have a chance to win on Sunday. It’s been a while since I’ve won a tournament, so it would be great,” said the 36-year-old American, whose only PGA TOUR win came in the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.
“I think the biggest thing today is I didn’t make a big deal of it (the two opening bogeys). So I made two bogeys, it’s not the end of the world. There’s a lot of golf left,” he added.
Defending champion Ben Crane shot a third round 68 and is in joint 14th place on eight-under-par.
The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic,Malaysiafeatures a 48-player field comprising 30 from thePGATOUR, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions. The winner will take home a cheque for US$1.3 million from the US$6.1 million total purse.
Leading third round scores:
197 – Bo Van Pelt (USA) 66-64-67
198 – Jeff Overton (USA) 67-62-69
200 – Mark Wilson (USA) 67-66-67, Fredrik Jacobson (SWE) 65-64-71
202 – Jason Dufner (USA) 70-67-65, Danny Chia (MAS) 71-65-66, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 72-64-66
203 – Ryan Palmer (USA) 71-65-67, Chris Kirk (USA) 71-65-67, Camilo Villegas (COL) 69-66-68
204 – Jerry Kelly (USA) 69-66-69, Jimmy Walker (USA) 66-67-71, Stewart Cink (USA) 67-66-71
205 – Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 69-69-67, John Senden (AUS) 67-70-68, Ben Crane (USA) 69-68-68, Robert Allenby (AUS) 63-72-70, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 64-69-72, Cameron Tringale (USA) 66-68-71
206 – Ricky Barnes (USA) 69-71-66, Brandt Snedeker (USA) 71-68-67, Jonathan Byrd (USA) 69-68-69
207 – Chez Reavie (USA) 69-71-67, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 68-71-68
208 – Tommy Gainey (USA) 68-70-70, Chinnarat Phadungsil (THA) 70-66-72
209 – Mohd Siddikur (BAN) 68-73-68, Scott Stallings (USA) 67-72-70, Kyle Stanley (USA) 68-69-72, Spencer Levin (USA) 70-67-72, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 70-67-72
210 – Brendon De Jonge (ZIM) 68-72-70, D.A. Points (USA) 71-68-71, Stuart Appleby (AUS) 72-67-71