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Taipei: Siddikur of Bangladesh put himself in prime position of securing a second Asian Tour victory by taking the third round lead of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Saturday.
Barely a month since becoming the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour, Siddikur registered a superb five-under-par 67 to open up a one stroke lead with a three-day total of five-under-par 211 at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul, who is one of the most consistent players on the Asian Tour this season, stayed in touch with the leader with a 70 for a 212 total at the US$500,000 Asian Tour event.
South Africa’s Peter Karmis, who won his maiden Asian Tour title at the Handa Singapore Classic last month, posted a 71, two off the pace while Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yih-shin and Lu Wei-chih, a former Mercuries Taiwan Masters Champion lie in tied fourth place on a 216 total.
Asian legend Hsieh Min-nan of Chinese Taipei, who emerged as the oldest golfer on the Asian Tour at the age of 70 years and 53 days old to make the halfway cut, posted a solid 75 for a 226 total.
Siddikur made the turn in 32 and carded his only blemish of the round on hole 10 but recovered with birdies on holes 13 and 15.
“This is my best round so far and it was good. I got off to a good start and my ball striking was as good as yesterday. Everything just clicked for me,” said Siddikur, who learned the game by fashioning his first golf club with a seven iron head on a piece of metal rod.
The man from Dhaka has been making waves since becoming the first Bangladeshi to earn his Asian Tour card at the 2009 Qualifying School and he admitted that a second victory in the region’s elite circuit is within reach.
“I’m in a very good position of winning my second Asian Tour victory and I’m already dreaming about it! I’m really looking forward to tomorrow,” said the 25-year-old.
Pariya has four top-10s so far this season and he hopes to translate his impressive form into a victory tomorrow. The 26-year-old turned in 34 highlighted by an eagle on the par five seventh hole after his seven iron approach shot flew for about 165 yards before landing four feet from the pin.
He was disappointed not to take advantage in the back nine where he posted nine straight pars.
“There was nothing else I could do because I gave myself enough opportunities and I just couldn’t go lower. My eagle was one of those lucky shots because I was aiming for the edge of the green but it somehow landed near the pin,” said the graduate from Purdue University in the United States.
“I’m going to play my game and not get ahead of myself. The tournament is not over yet but I’m going to go out there and try to take it. If I keep shooting under-par, the results should take care of itself,” added Pariya.
Chinese Taipei’s Chan rued a cold putter but is confident of making a surge up the leaderboard.
“Anything can happen on this golf course as it is very unpredictable. The final round is not over yet and I still have a chance,” said Chan, who won his maiden Asian Tour title at the King’s Cup in Thailand last year.
After writing a slice of history, Hsieh, who was victorious in the 1972 World Cup of Golf where he won the team and individual titles is aiming to finish above at least 20 players on Sunday.
“I’m feeling very happy and lucky because I hold the record of being the oldest player to make the cut on the Asian Tour. I’m glad to be making history despite my age!” said Hsieh.
“Now I’m going to try to defeat 20 players! I’m having fun out there and I’m not even feeling tired,” he added.

Asian Tour 

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