Rising Welsh star Rhys Davies remained on course for a maiden European Tour title at the Maybank Malaysian Open after earning a share of a one shot lead alongside Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat at the top of a tightly congested third round leaderboard.
Challenge Tour graduate Davies, 24, carded a one under par 71 to join fast finishing 20 year old Kiradech, who birdied three of his final four holes of a 68, at 11 under par on the third day at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
K J Choi (69), Søren Hansen (69) and Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee (69) head the chasing pack alongside 18 year old South Korean Noh Seung-yul (67) with Alejandro Cañizares (71) and Johan Edfors (69) just a shot further adrift and Ignacio Garrido (71) rounding out the tight top ten at eight under.
“It’s good pressure to be up there. If I shoot the best score tomorrow then I win, that’s a good thing,” said World Number 135 Davies.
“There are a number of great players up there so it is up to me to worry about my own game and try not to worry about them. If I score lower than them then I will come out on top.”
Joint first round leader Davies earlier completed a three under par second round following yesterday's lighting delay to lead by two shots at the halfway mark.
But he slipped off the pace after a double bogey at the start of his back nine, having hitting his tee shot into water.
The two time Challenge Tour winner, though, earned a share of the lead to keep his bid for victory alive with a 30 foot birdie putt at the 17th.
And Davies, who actually cut his teeth on the Asian Tour in 2008 with three top ten finishes, missed out on claiming the outright lead as an eight foot effort at the last lipped out.
“My temperament has been good all week and I have listened to my mind and body to stay on top of things,” added Davies.
“I drove the ball well which is a big plus for me. I usually putt well and I did putt well. Not many went in, but I did hit a lot of them on line.”
World Number 231 Kiradech capped his storming finish with a ten foot conversion at the last.
“My driving was better, my ball striking has been improving these past three days and that has played a part in my good performance,” said Kiradech.
“I missed a couple of putts on the back nine but three birdies in the last four holes is a good way to finish.”
Choi, World Number 96, missed out on a chance to share the overnight lead after missing from eight feet at the last following a superb approach from a fairway bunker.
“I have put myself in position, I like where I am,” said the 39 year old South Korean. “Yesterday and today I just sweated so much I feel weary. I just need to overcome the heat for one more day and try to close it out.
“There are a lot of players crammed up and it's anybody's game. The key thing is to maintain what I'm doing, keep up the pros and if I'm able to do that, there will be a chance and whoever takes the chance will win.”
Hansen was similarly optimistic about his chances of overhauling the leaders.
“I didn't think anyone was going to run away with it today. It's certainly a marathon this week and not a sprint. See what happens tomorrow,” he said.
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