Willett stalks The Tiger

Danny Willett ©Mike Casper|The ClubHouse

Shah Alam [SELANGOR]: Reigning Masters Tournament champion Danny Willett streaked into a three-shot third round lead after shooting a five-under-par 67 at the Maybank Championship on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Englishman, who trailed by one stroke overnight, sank six birdies, including at the final two holes, at Saujana Golf and Country Club to lead from 2015 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion David Lipsky of the United States, who returned a 68.

Frenchman Alexander Levy fired a 67 on another sun-kissed day at the US$3 million tournament co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour for third place, four back of Willett while Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat (66) and K.T. Kim of Korea (69) were amongst those bunched in equal fourth position, five strokes back.

Indian star Anirban Lahiri, the 2015 Asian Tour number one, missed a bunch of putts in his round of 69 to end the third round in a share of ninth position.

Willett showed his class on golf’s “Moving Day” to lead on 16-under-par 200 but was somewhat fortuitous on the par five 18th hole when his approach shot ended behind a spectator’s marquee before going on to make an unlikely birdie.

“It comes and goes, the luck. I missed a couple of putts but there were a couple of loose swings in there. I still hit good shots when I needed to hit them,” noted the Yorkshireman, who will be chasing for his sixth European Tour crowm tomorrow.

“I would have taken a 67 at the start of the day. It spreads the top five and top six guys out a bit more and further away, and I’m probably going to go hit a few and make a few little minor tweaks here and there and try to get the driver to where it’s been most of the week,” he noted. ~ ASIAN TOUR

Leading third round scores (Par-72) >
200 – Danny Willett (ENG) 66-67-67
203 – David Lipsky (USA) 68-67-68
204 – Alexander Levy (FRA) 69-68-67
205 – Gregory Havret (FRA) 69-70-66, Panuphol Pittayarat (THA) 70-69-66, K.T. Kim (KOR) 68-68-69, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 70-65-70, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 69-63-73
206 – Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 70-69-67, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 69-68-69
207 – Shubhankar Sharma (IND) 68-68-71