Korean Song Younghan continued to hit all the right notes on Sunday morning as he opened up a two-shot gap on the field going into the final round of the US$1 million SMBC Singapore Open.
The perennial runner-up zeroed in on his first title with three birdies and a sole bogey in the remaining five holes of his third round for a 69 and a total of 11-under 202 at Sentosa Golf Club.
He is two strokes clear of Japan’s Shintaro Kobayashi who continued to belie his lowly world ranking of 706 by matching Song’s 69 on Sunday morning.
China’s Liang Wenchong, who posted his second successive 67 on Saturday evening before play was suspended because of darkness, sits a further shot adrift in third place.
Song, 24, has three runner-up finishes to his credit on the Japan Golf Tour but is playing like a man on a mission to notch his breakthrough win.
“Winning is my goal this week,” said the icy cool Korean. “Yesterday maybe I was little nervous, and my shot was not good. This morning I played five holes and I felt refreshed and my shot came back.”
He birdied 14, 16 and 18 with a dropped shot at the 15th sandwiched in between.
Kobayashi, playing some of the best golf of his career, kept pace with Song by carding birdies at the 16th and 18th holes.
“Yesterday I felt different, I could not get any rhythm,” he said. “I started out at the14th hole this morning and the good rhythm came back.
“For the final round, I will try not to look at what the other players are doing, Song only has a two stroke lead. I will play my own game and see what’s going to happen in the last three holes.”
Liang loves the Serapong Course having finished second behind Ian Poulter of England in 2009 and fourth in 2006 at previous Singapore Opens over the famed layout and will fancy his chances of reeling in Song.
Hideto Tanihara, a multiple winner on the Japan Golf Tour, is a shot behind Liang in fourth place while world number one Jordan Spieth is in a group of five players in fifth spot.
That group also includes Korea’s Wang Jeunghun and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, two of the biggest prospects in Asian golf, Lee Wonjoon of Australia and Japan’s Akio Sadakata.
Spieth has promised an aggressive putting approach in the final round.
“I over-read a lot of putts at the start (of the tournament) and I am going to try and be a little bit more aggressive with my putter as I try to dial other stuff back to make sure i am in position,” said the Masters and US Open champion.
“(We are going to approach the final round) a bit differently. I have got to hit as many greens in regulation as possible, I just have not done that.”