Kazuki Higa of Japan put himself in prime position to secure a first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title after shooting a third round three-under-par 69 to take a three-shot lead at the BTI Open on Thursday.
The ADT rookie, who opened with a sparkling 62, traded four birdies against one bogey to lead on 15-under-par 201 at the US$60,000 event played at the Kurmitola Golf Club.
Bangladeshi Zamal Hossain Mollah fired a third consecutive 68 to stay within striking distance of Higa as the local hope searches for a first ADT win.
Argentinian journeyman and former PGA Tour player Miguel Carballo shot a 68 to share third place with Malcolm Kokocinski (69) of Sweden on matching 206s while Order of Merit leader John Catlin (71) was bunched up in fifth place on a 209 total.
The 23-year-old Higa, who is playing in his second tournament as a professional, stayed on track to a first career victory after only using driver twice on the par-five third and seventh holes which he birdied.
“When I played a practice round I decided to use more irons off the tees. I only used driver on the par fives. The plan has been working for me so far and I’m really happy with my performance,” said Higa.
The talented Japanese is feeling confident in his game and hopes to claim victory on Friday to make up for his disappointment of missing out on an Asian Tour card at Qualifying School by a single shot in January.
“I don’t feel any pressure. I feel that I’m good enough to win this tournament. I’m not surprised that I’m leading but I was surprise to shoot a 62 on the first day! Obviously that’s helped me so far so I hope to stick to my game plan and continue playing well,” he added.
The BTI Open is the second ADT event to be staged in Bangladesh this year. The tournament will be afforded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points with the winner receiving six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading third round scores:
201 – Kazuki HIGA (JPN) 62 70 69
204 – Zamal Hossain MOLLAH (BAN) 68 68 68
206 – Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) 67 71 68, Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 67 70 69
209 – Shakhawat SOHEL (BAN) 68 75 66, Anura ROHANA (SRI) 71 71 67, Josh SALAH (USA) 69 72 68, Aman RAJ (IND) 73 66 70, John CATLIN (USA) 72 66 71, Md. Sajib ALI (BAN) 69 67 73
210 – M DHARMA (IND) 68 71 71, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 70 69 71
211 – Viraj MADAPPA (IND) 71 73 67, Dulal HOSSAIN (BAN) 69 72 70
212 – Md Nazim (BAN) 71 74 67, Mithun PERERA (SRI) 68 73 71, Divyanshu BAJAJ (IND) 72 73 67
213 – Samarth DWIVEDI (IND) 72 72 69, Sam GILLIS (USA) 70 76 67
214 – Arjun PRASAD (IND) 71 72 71, Udayan MANE (IND) 74 70 70, Shivendra Singh SISODIA (IND) 70 70 74