Ryan Moore and his playing partners suffered a bizarre back-nine meltdown yesterday, but the US player still managed to maintain a share of the lead with compatriot Chris Stroud going into the final round of the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
Moore carded a third-round three-under 69 to share the lead with Stroud (68) at 12-under, a stroke ahead of big-hitting Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat (69) and the US’ Gary Woodland (67).
The 31-year-old Moore was six-under for the round coming down the stretch and held a three-stroke advantage, but the American bogeyed the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th holes to let the chasing pack reel him in.
“It was almost two different days out there,” said Moore, who is looking for his first win since the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last year.
“I’m rolling it well and if I’m putting well, I’m going to have opportunities and I know I’m going to make some birdies,” he added.
Former USPGA champion Keegan Bradley, who held a four-stroke lead overnight, fell back with a double-bogey on the 12th before dropping further shots on the 13th, 16th and 18th to card a four-over 76 that put him three strokes behind the leaders.
Moore’s other playing partner, Kiradech, who avoided a penalty at the 13th when his ball moved, hit three birdies and an eagle before a double bogey on the 14th stalled his progress.
Stroud, looking for his first PGA Tour win, also had a tough time of it on the back nine with bogeys on the 12th and 15th, but rallied with a birdie on the 16th to get to 12-under.
“I’m pulling from all that experience and what I learned under the gun [at the Travelers Championship] was I don’t need to try to do anything fancy,” said Stroud, who lost in a playoff to Ken Duke at last season’s Travelers Championship.
World No. 3 Phil Mickelson mixed four birdies with a lone bogey on the fifth hole to finish five strokes off the lead in the US$7 million event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.