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Bandar Seri Begawan: Malaysia’s Ben Leong returned to his best form to take a share of the third round lead with overnight leader Siddikur of Bangladesh at the Brunei Open on Saturday.
Leong put himself in contention for a second Asian Tour title with a four-under-par 67 while Siddikur bogeyed the last hole for a 70. The joint leaders are tied with a three-day total of 12-under-par 201 at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.
Former Brunei Open champion Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei battled to a 66 to lie in tied third position with South Africa’s Jbe Kruger and Australian Adam Blyth on a 202 total at the US$300,000 full field tournament.
English duo Simon Griffiths and Nick Redfern, runner-up at the King’s Cup in Thailand last year, are a stroke back with India’s Anirban Lahiri on a 203 total at the tournament which is making its sixth appearance on the Asian Tour Schedule.
Leong got off to a bright start with five birdies in his opening six holes followed by a bogey on eight to make the turn in 31 before adding a bogey and a birdie on the back nine.
The Malaysian, who endured a poor run after his victory at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in 2008, credited his recent surge to form after seeing his coach David Milne last week.
“I putted amazingly on the front nine but the conditions started to get really hot and the wind was blowing strongly. I’m not going to put pressure on myself and try my best on the final day,” said the 24-year-old.
“I have been seeing my coach a lot this year and met him last week in Singapore. Training with him has really helped my game and that’s one of the reasons I’m doing well,” said Leong whose best finish last season was a tied 18th place in Taiwan.
Siddikur, 25, took a step closer to becoming the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour. He rued a cold putter but is determined to bounce back and secure a historic victory.
“It was disappointing to bogey the last hole or I might have taken a one stroke lead. Overall I’m still happy to be in contention and looking forward to making a title push,” said Siddikur.
Lin, who was down with a bout of flu, was surprised to be in contention after firing six birdies against one bogey.
“I have been playing with a flu since the first round and I hope to recover for the final day. I was in much better shape when I won in 2007. I’m not even going to practice later. I’m going back to my room, take my medicine and rest,” said Lin who made 24 putts today.
Australian Blyth, who has come close on numerous occasions of securing his first Asian Tour title, posted a flawless round with four birdies for a 67 and hopes he will cross the finish line at the sultanate.
“I have been working hard on my game and it has paid off this week. It feels great to be back on the Asian Tour and I’m enjoying my game. I’m going to concentrate on my game and not worry about anything else. I hope it goes my way tomorrow,” said Blyth.

Asian Tour 

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