Chinese star Li Haotong produced a spectacular eight-under 63 that gave him a three-shot lead after the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open, here, on Saturday.
Haotong, starting the moving day at nine-under and Tied-fifth, zoomed to 17-under 196 and sole lead with overnight leader Justin Rose going into the water three times during his two-under 69 that pegged him at 14-under alongside Frenchman Alexander Levy (66).
Thorbjorn Olesen (68) was sole fourth at 13-under, while rookie Sam Horsfield (68) and 2016 Masters champion, Danny Willet (69) showing a welcome return to form, were Tied-fifth at 12-under. Asian Tour’s best-positioned player was Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67) at 10-under and was Tied-ninth.
India’s Shubhankar Sharma finally seemed to have warmed up to the course, as he was bogey-free two-under through 17 holes, before a trip into the water cost him a bogey and finished one-under 70 and one-under 212 in T-53rd place, exactly where he was a day earlier.
Li had both luck and form going for him. Coming on the top of fifth, ninth and 11th place finishes, he had a chip-in for birdie on ninth and then, holed a 173-yard shot with eight-iron for an eagle on Par-4 10th.
“That was quite a special moment for myself, and the second shot was like 173 something and 8-iron, tried to hit a high fade, which I did, but little bit flyer high and finished pin-high, which is a little long, and lucky from the top and rolls in.
“Nine was chip-in. Yesterday I did the same thing, but I hit the flag, kicked out and today was just lucky, went in. It was the fourth time he had holed out from off the green this week,” said Li. By the 12th hole, Li had gone from three behind to three in front at which point he was on a tear.
Despite his troubles on Saturday, Rose kept his humour intact, when asked if he remembered the last time he went into the water three times in a round. He shot back, “No, I can’t. I’m pretty good at forgetting things. Made a career of that. I can’t remember yesterday.”
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