KEVIN NA of the United States shot five birdies in a bogey free round to hold the joint lead with compatriot and defending champion Ryan Moore going into the final round of the CIMB Classic at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) yesterday.
The lead changed hands for the third time in as many days, and Na's five-under 67 yestarday took his total to 12-under 204. Moore also had a five-under 67, and a 204 total.
Na, who won the Volvo Mastars in 2002 in Kuala Lumpur, believes a 17-under score should land the title today.
"Its nice to be 12-under, but tomorrow (final round) is another day and with many top golfers close by, I believe one would have to shoot another five-under, the least, and a 17-under total should be enough. That's my prediction," said Na.
He has been bogged down by weather delays in two consecutive rounds, and finds the greens harder to play after that.
"Well I had five birdies, but did have a close look at a few Eagles out there but could not sink them. And after the weather delay, it becomes that much harder to read the greens," said Na.
Both Na and Moore has been steady in their progress, as Na had an opening 69, followed by a 68 and a 67. Moore started with a 68, went to 69, and hit a splendid 67 with seven birdies and two bogies on his card.
World Number Four Sergio Garcia of Spain and overnight leader Billy Hurley III of the United States are just a stroke adrift at 11-under 205, and could be the surprise package in the final round.
Close on the leaders are also a pack of four, at nine-under 207. Gary Woodland (US, 66), Bae Sang-Moon (S Kor, 68), Kevin Chapell (US, 70) and Kevin Streelman (US, 71).
Moore has the same feeling he had going into the final last year: "I really enjoy the golf course, obviously enjoyed it last year as well as I've just been able to play good, solid, consistent golf so far, just putting it in the fairway, giving myself chances, and I've been fortunate enough to make some putts, so in the end that's why I'm here.
"And there are only positive vibes, as you know, I've been here (KLGCC), I've done it on this course, and so that should just give me that little extra course going into the final.
"I know what it's like to win out here, and I'm going to try and make that happen again."
The defending champion knows it going to be a tight Sunday race: It's a pretty tight leaderboard out there and for me, I have kind of a very simple approach to the course as far as my clubs off the tee and the way, you know, the way I try and pick this course apart.
"And I'm just going to stick to that. I can't overpower this golf course, and I think this course sneaks up on you if you do try and overpower it.
"So it's all about getting it in the fairways early on in the day and giving myself chances. I've been making putts so far the last three days, and I think just keep giving myself good opportunities and make some putts early and kind of get it rolling."
THIRD ROUND SCORES:
204 Kevin Na (US) 69-68-67, Ryan Moore (US) 68-69-67.
205 Sergio Garcia (SP) 69-68-68, Billy Hurley III (US) 67-67-71.
207 Gary Woodland (US) 71-70-66, Sang-Moon Bae (S Kor) 71-68-68, Kevin Chappell (US) 69-68-70, Kevin
Streelman (US) 68-68-71.
208 Brendon de Jonge (Zim) 70-73-65, Patrick Reed (US) 70-70-68, Angelo Que (Phil) 67-72-69, Cameron
Smith (Aus) 70-69-69, Jeff Overton (US) 68-69-71.
209 John Senden (Aus) 72-68-69, Prom Meesawat (Thai) 68-71-70, Seung-Yul Noh (S Kor) 68-69-72.
210 Davis Love III (US) 68-71-71.
211 Greg Chalmers (Aus) 75-68-68, Danny Lee (NZ) 69-69-73, Brian Stuard (US) 67-72-72, Lee Westwood
212 Rory Sabbatini (SA) 70-72-70, Charl Schwartzel (SA) 74-70-68, Nicholas Thompson (US) 69-73-70, Luke
Guthrie (US) 73-68-71, Scott Stallings (US) 69-76-67, Paul Casey (Eng) 73-68-71, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn)
213 Jonathan Byrd (US) 70-74-69, Jason Dufner (US) 74-70-69, Stephen Lewton (Eng) 74-69-70, Retief
Goosen (SA) 74-70-69, Will MacKenzie (US) 69-73-71, Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) 69-71-73, Mike Weir (Can) 73-68-
72, Billy Horschel (US) 72-68-73, David Lingmerth (Swe) 68-72-73, Jonas Blixt (Swe) 69-69-75.
214 Heath Slocum (US) 71-73-70, Jason Knutzon (US) 72-70-72, Charlie Wi (S Kor) 72-70-72, Pat Perez (US)
215 Michael Putnam (US) 71-72-72, Chris Stroud (US) 70-74-71, Trevor Immelman (SA) 74-70-71, Jhonattan
Vegas (VenN) 74-71-70.
216 Matt Every (US) 69-73-74, KJ Choi (S Kor) 71-74-71, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 65-76-75, Anirban Lahiri (Ind)
74-72-70, Kyle Stanley (US) 76-71-69.
217 Marc Leishman (Aus) 74-72-71, Troy Merritt (US) 72-75-70.
218 Antonio Lascuna (Phil) 72-72-74, Steven Bowditch (Aus) 71-73-74, Brice Garnett (US) 70-75-73, Tim
Wilkinson (NZ) 68-79-71.
219 Robert Allenby (Aus) 73-73-73, Morgan Hoffmann (US) 72-74-73, Tian-Lang Guan (am, Ch) 76-71-72,
Matt Jones (Aus) 81-69-69, James Hahn (US) 74-77-68.
220 Tim Clark (SA) 72-74-74, Stewart Cink (US) 74-73-73.
221 Brian Davis (Eng) 71-75-75, Boo Weekley (US) 75-72-74, Will Wilcox (US) 75-74-72, Danny Chia (Mas) 75-
222 Nicholas Fung (Mas) 73-74-75, Ricky Barnes (US) 71-77-74, Roberto Castro (US) 77-74-71, J.B. Holmes
223 Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 76-72-75.
224 David Lipsky (US) 74-73-77, Chesson Hadley (USA) 75-75-74.
225 Charlie Beljan (US) 76-75-74.
230 Seuk-hyun Baek (S Kor) 81-72-77.