England’s Jordan L Smith extended his lead at the Kazakhstan Open to two shots as he carded a six under par round of 66 in the third round at Zhailjau Golf Club.
Smith started the day one shot ahead of Steven Brown, Roman Langasque and Ricardo Santos, but found himself behind as he carded early bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes.
The 23 year old, who won the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge Presented by Hassan Allam Properties in April, recovered quickly as he eagled the sixth hole to return to level par on the day.
He then birded the eighth and ninth holes to reach the turn in 34 and he rolled in four more birdies, included a 12-foot putt on the 18th hole to move to 17 under par, two shots clear of compatriot Sam Walker.
“I got off to a bit of a nervy start but made eagle straight after, and that settled me down for the rest of the round,” said Smith. “I holed the right putts at the right times to keep momentum going.
“I hit my irons and wedges great as well, so I’m happy with that. The putt on the last was a highlight and I holed a nice six-footer on 15 just to keep things going.
“I’m going to approach tomorrow exactly the same way. Me and my caddy have a good game plan, hopefully the weather will hold off.”
Walker remains in contention after his seven under par, blemish-free round, his best of the tournament so far.
His run of birdies on the 14th 15th and 16th holes saw him surge up the leaderboard, taking second place as he goes in search of his second title of the season.
“I played well today, very well,” said Walker. “I gave myself a lot of chances. I drove the ball well. I played solid, which you have to do, especially on ‘moving day’. Now I’ve put myself in with a chance tomorrow.
“I holed some good putts. I holed two ten-foot putts after being in the rough then birdied 16 which was a great birdie.
“I’m not doing anything different. My mind is just a lot clearer. After a win it gives you a little bit of breathing space. I need to keep doing what I’m doing and that’s just enjoying it.”
A further shot back in third place are England’s Garrick Porteous and Dutchman Reinier Saxton and behind them are New Zealand’s Olympian Ryan Fox and Santos on 13 under par.Reinier Saxton
The round of the day belonged to Charlie Ford who started the day seven shots off the lead, but carded a tournament-low eight under par 64 for a 12 under par total after three rounds.
“At the start of the day I knew I wanted to get to double figures to be close,” said Ford. “I had a really good run around the turn and I didn’t make any bogeys either, which have been costing me recently – it’s nice to keep the card clean.”
The fourth and final round of the Kazakhstan Open will be played as a U-Draw due to the threat of bad weather in Almaty.