KUALA LUMPUR: Nicholas Fung birdied two of his last three holes to take a one-shot lead over former Asian Tour number ones Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and Filipino Juvic Pagunsan after the third round of the US$500,000 Queen’s Cup on Saturday.
The 27-year-old patiently carved out a three-under-par 68 at a tricky Santiburi Samui Country Club to give himself a shot at earning a maiden Asian Tour victory with his three-day aggregate of 11-under-par 202.
Overnight leader Thaworn battled a 70 to slip into tied second place on 203 alongside sweet-swinging Pagungsan, who birdied three of his last four holes for a 68.
Thai rising star Jazz Janewattananond posted the day’s best of 65 to move into a share of fourth place on 204 alongside Malaysia’s Danny Chia (67), Hung Chien-yao of Chinese Taipei (67) and Angelo Que of the Philippines (69).
Fighting off the effects of a lingering flu, Fung earned his first ever third round lead on the Asian Tour while playing in the company of two-time Order of Merit winner Thaworn, who also holds the most Tour victories with 18 titles, and Pagunsan, the 2011 Asian number one.
“This is the first time I’m leading into the final round in an Asian Tour event, so it’s going to be a new experience. I’ve been one behind the leader previously a few times,” said Fung.
The slightly built-Malaysian, who has three-runner-up finishes in his career, turned in one under with three birdies against two bogeys before rallying strongly at the end of the round to edge ahead of his more illustrious playing partners.
“I’m very pleased with my score, shooting three under was my target today. Birdied 16 and 18 to get to 11-under which I’m happy with the result. When we started, it was a bit tough as the wind was up but I managed to hold it together,” he added.
Having come short on a number of occassions, Fung is hoping to keep his title expectations in check and focus instead on his game.
“In the past, I’ve been too tensed going into the final day when in contention. Thinking too much and wanting it too badly. This time, I don’t want to think about it. I just want to play good golf and enjoy the day tomorrow,” noted the Sabahan.