PETALING JAYA: They might as well hand the trophy to Khor Kheng Hwai.
Barring a momentous last-day collapse, the 32-year-old golfer is primed for his second win of the season after stretching his five-shot advantage at the halfway stage to seven strokes at the end of the third round in the PGM Palm Resort Closed Championship yesterday.
Kheng Hwai, winner of the PGM Match Play Championship last month, carded a flawless four-under 68 to reach 15-under 201 at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club in Senai, Johor, yesterday
Irfan Yusoff (66) and R. Nachimuthu (70) are in joint second, followed by Shahrifuddin Ariffin (66) and Zurie Harun (69) another shot behind.
Having led from day one, Kheng Hwai showed no signs of slowing down yesterday as he fired a pair of birdies in each half to put himself on the brink of winning his fourth crown on the Tour.
But Kheng Hwai’s not the type to count his chickens before they are hatched.
“It’s nice to be seven shots ahead ... but you can never be too sure (of winning),” stressed Kheng Hwai.
“I can’t take things for granted because many things can happen over the last 18 holes.
“The last two times I went into the final round as leader (with a one-shot lead at the Kelantan Closed and Terengganu Closed last year), they ended up in disappointment. Hopefully, I’ll win this time.”
National No. 1 Danny Chia signed for a successive 69 to join Ben Leong, M. Sasidaran and Mohd Nazri Zain in sixth place on 210.
Reigning PGM Player of the Year Nicholas Fung could only manage a 73 to be joint 10th.
Leading third round scores
201: Khor Kheng Hwai 66-67-68;
208: Irfan Yusoff 70-69-69, R. Nachimuthu 66- 72-70;
209: Shahrifuddin Ariffin 69-74-66, Zurie Harun 72-68-69;
210: Danny Chia 72-69-69, M. Sasidaran 71- 69-70, Mohd Nazri Zain 68-72-70, Ben Leong 71-68-71; 212: Anis Hassan 71-69-72, Nicholas Fung 71- 68-73;
213: Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz 74-71-68; 214: Shaifubari Muda 74-70-70, Wilson Choo 68- 75-71, Tan Chien Hau 69-71-74;
215: Low Khai Jei 74-71-70, Kemarol Baharin 72- 71-72, P. Gunasegaran 69-71-75; 216: Sukree Othman 75-71-70, Lam Yu Shuen 73-71-72