Penang, Sept 11: In-form Malaysian R Nachimuthu sizzled with a 67 to join countryman Iylia Jamil in top spot after the third round of the PGM Penang Championship on Friday.
Overnight leader Iylia looked destined to take a one-stroke advantage into the last round but dropped a shot on the final hole for a two-under 70 at Penang Golf Club
The duo are locked together on 10-under 206 in the joint-sanctioned ASEAN PGA Tour/PGM Tour event, three strokes ahead of Malaysia’s Khor Kheng Hwai, who made a move with a 67.
Two-time ASEAN PGA Tour winner Nicholas Fung slipped five shots behind the leaders after a rocky round of 74. He is tied in sixth spot with first round leader M Sasidaran (72), a shot behind fellow Malaysians Kenneth De Silva and Mohd Amli Mohd Mohiyedeen, who recorded matching 71s.
Nachimuthu, who has recorded four top-10 finishes on the PGM Tour in the last five months, quickly made up for his shaky second-round 71 with four birdies in his outward nine.
He picked up another shot at the 10th before settling for a 67 after a bogey on 14 and a birdie two holes later.
Iylia made an impact on the ASEAN PGA Tour last season with a second-place finish behind highly rated Thai Gunn Charoenkul at the PGM-ASEAN PGA Melaka Championship and long hours on the range are paying dividends for him in Penang.
He had five birdies and three bogeys in his round of 70, the dropped shot on the 18th denying him the outright lead for a second day.
Khor moved menacingly into contention with an error-free 67 while the experienced Fung, winner of the 2012 Palembang Musi Championship and the Mercedes-Benz Masters Vietnam in 2010 on the ASEAN PGA Tour, went the other way after a bad start.
He had a double bogey at the second hole before pulling a shot back straight away on the next. Then he mixed three more birdies with four bogeys to give himself a lot to do for victory on Saturday.
The PGM Penang Championship is the sixth event on this season’s ASEAN PGA Tour schedule and is co-sanctioned with the PGM Tour.