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Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 9:05:00 PM
Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 9:06:47 PM
by lim teik huat AND ashrena pillai
Ryan Moore currently shares the lead at the CIMB Classic with fellow American Chris Stroud. After three days, they are tied at a 12-under 204. – AFP Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: The stage is set for a dramatic afternoon in the CIMB Classic on Sunday and it is anybody’s guess as to who will claim the king’s ransom of US$1.26mil (RM4mil) at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Ryan Moore, who carded a third-round 69, shares the lead with fellow American Chris Stroud (68) for a three-round total of 12-under 204 after a number of players stumbled on the tricky back nine at the challenging course.
However, eight players will start the final round on Sunday only four shots off the leaders and definitely with their eyes set on nicking the paycheque as well.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is also eyeing a date with history by spoiling the party for the Americans after battling to a 69 to end the third round only one shot behind Moore and Stroud.
Aphibarnrat, who lifted the Malaysian Open title at the same venue just six months ago, is at 11-under 205 along with American Gary Woodland, who shot a five-under 67 on Saturday.
Stroud had a few hiccups on the back nine, with bogeys on the 12th and 15th.
However, he bounced back with a birdie on the 16th to get to 12-under and will be looking for his first PGA Tour title on Sunday.
It is the first time that Stroud has led or shared the lead through 54 holes and he is happy to give himself a chance going into the last 18 holes.
“I still didn’t hit the ball as well as I did on the first day but I really hung in there today, giving myself a lot of good looks.
“I think I made four or five birdies in a row. You can do that on this golf course. There’s a lot of wedges but, I tell you what, if you do not hit a fairway, you’re going to struggle to make par ... and that’s really my focus.
“Every hole I get up to, I’m doing everything I can to get that ball in the fairway.
“This golf course is really pretty tricky and you’ve got to be careful not to put yourself in some bad positions.
“I’m pulling from all that experience. I just need to stick to my game plan, keep hitting shots, keep hitting good quality shots, keep putting myself in the right positions, keep hitting good putts and stick to my strengths, which are chipping, putting and wedges, and get myself in the fairway,” said Stroud.
Moore was disappointed with a poor stretch on the back nine where he dropped four shots over five holes after turning in 31.
“It was almost two different days out there. I really got going, making a lot of putts and making a lot of birdies.
“And then just kind of hit a pretty rough stretch in the middle.
“Fortunately, I wedged a birdie in between but kind of made a mess of it.
“I had a chance to definitely separate myself and get away from the rest of the field but, all in all, I’m still up at the top ... and that’s all you can ask for going into Sunday,” said Moore, who opened with a sizzling nine-under 63 on Thursday but struggled to make par the following day.
Woodland was happy to sneak in behind the leaders and is certainly not counting himself out from a big payday.
“I wanted to go out and get off to a good start. I did that. To shoot a five-under and only be a couple off the lead, I didn’t think that would happen.
“Keegan (Bradley) was obviously playing really well but there were a lot of guys ahead of me who are obviously playing well.
“I’m in a good spot, been playing well ... go out and play well tomorrow and see what happens,” said Woodland, who won the Reno-Tahoe Open last season for his second career victory.
Overnight leader Bradley struggled to a four-over 76 to fall three shots off the pace while world No. 3 Phil Mickelson shot his week’s best round to date with a four-under 68 to lie five strokes behind the leaders alongside South Korea’s K.J. Choi in 11th place.
Tags / Keywords:
golf, CIMB Classic, Ryan Moore, Chris Stroud, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
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