AUSTRIAN Bernd Wiesberger dethroned Englishman Lee Westwood with an amazing nine-under 63 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club yesterday to claim the sole spot on the leaderboard going into the final round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Wiesberger's 17-under 199 was three better than the defending champion's 14-under 202, after Westwood had a third round of three-under 69.
Spaniard Alejandro Canizares is alone on second after a four-under 68 saw his total at 15-under 201.
Tied on third with Westwood is Englishman Paul Waring, who had a seven-under 65.
However, the star performer of the day was Anirban Lahiri of India, who played flawless golf and claimed 10 birdies for a blistering 62, which is the best score of the Open. He moved up from joint-21st to stand alone at fifth. Wiesberger birdied the first five holes and spent the remainder of the round trading blows with Canizares at the top of the leaderboard.
The Spaniard and defending champion Lee Westwood had been three clear of the field at the halfway stage, and when Canizares pitched in at the 16th for eagle he looked set to grab the upper hand.
But Wiesberger holed a 25 footer for birdie on the same hole to recapture a share of the lead, and turned that into a closing hat-trick of gains to reach 17 under par as he seeks a third European Tour title and first since 2012.
"I started really well with five birdies in a row as I caught up with the leaders early which was good and finished off well. It was a great day for me as this is my European Tour record -- I’ve never shot a 63," said Wiesberger.
When asked what was his secret: "Maybe I shouldn’t tell! I’ve been working on the right things which are important for my game. I’ve improved on my putting a lot. I have changed to a different model and it has been working for me. I also have the belief that I can play good golf now.
"And when Alejandro caught up with me towards the end and it seems like a match play situation, I had to catch him quickly. I had to get off to a good start and six birdies in seven holes were good to catch the lead."
And will he be discounting anybody leading into the final?
"I’m not discounting anybody. There was a 62 out there today (yesterday) and there’s probably going to be another 62 out there as well. I had a fast start today and anybody can do that in the final. If I keep playing like this then I have a good chance to take this (title) home. Tomorrow (today) is another day and anything can happen. I’ll try and rest it up and give myself a chance," said the Austrian.
Westwood said he had the wrong song in mind yesterday, and could have done worse if not for the closing birdies on the 17th and 18th.
"I'm three adrift, but it could have been worse if not for the closing birdies. I had the wrong song in mind, and the bogey on the seventh did not help matters.
"However, the way I played today (yesterday) it could have been a worse score, I could’ve easily shot over par, so I’m pleased to have shot 69," said Westwood.