Saturday, September 26, 2009

Maruyama goes four shots clear in Panasonic Open

Kyoto, September 26: Japan’s Daisuke Maruyama brilliantly o pen ed up a four-shot lead after the third round of the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open today but was wary of being his own enemy in his quest for glory.
Maruyama, 38, fired a four-under-par 67 at a sun-baked Joyo Country Club where his three-day total of 11-under-par 202 is well clear of talented Korean Kim Kyung-tae, who charged into second place with a superb 66.
Chinese star Liang Wen-chong, the Asian Tour number one in 2007, kept himself in the title frame with a battling 69 to lie in tied third place, five back alongside Korean Kim Hyung-sung, who shot a 71 after slipping up with three late bogeys in the US$1.5 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Searching for his first win since 2005, Maruyama, who has one title each on the Asian Tour and Japan , scrambled superbly on the back nine to extend his overnight lead. He made big par saves on the 10th and 12th holes, draining putts of 25 feet and 20 feet to stay ahead of the chasing pack in a round that included five birdies and one bogey.
“Those two holes were big saves for me,” said a relieved Maruyama, who spent two seasons on the US PGA Tour in 2006 and 2007. “I found a lot of the rough, more so than yesterday but my putting and short game saved me.
“I’m not going to think about the other players tomorrow. I just have to concentrate on making an under par score and worry about my own game.”
The 23-year-old Kim, winner of the Maekyung O pen on the Asian Tour in 2007, wielded a hot putter as he gave himself a chance of upstaging Maruyama. He turned in 35 before romping home with four more birdies.
“I hit a lot of good iron shots and my putting was very good. I holed a lot of long putts from more than five meters, at least four or five holes were from long range. On 18, I holed out from over 10 meters which was nice,” said Kim, who won the Asian Games gold medal in the individual and team event in 2006.
“This score has given me a small chance tomorrow. I’m four behind which is quite a lot of this tough course but I’ll give it a try. If I can shoot another 66, maybe I will win.”
Liang echoed Kim’s sentiments although he faces a five-shot deficit going into Sunday’s last round. “There is only one player who is on 11-under. If the leader drops shots tomorrow, everyone will have a chance. If I can shoot a four-under round tomorrow, who knows what will happen ,” said Liang, a two-time winner in Asia .
However, the Chinese ace knows he must start converting more putts from close range. “I made some long putts but missed a few short ones as well which has been my story this week. The good thing is that I’m striking the ball good and I just need to stay patient and hope that the putts will start dropping. You can’t get angry as it will affect your game,” he said.
Hyung-sung stayed on Maruyama’s heels the whole day before dropping disappointing bogeys on 14, 16 and 18. “My swing wasn’t good. I hit a flier on 14 and then came up short on 16 when the wind picked up. The winning score could be 12-under tomorrow, so I’ll need to aim for that goal,” he said.
Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa fired a 69, his first sub-par round of the week, for tied 30th place on 214.

202 - Daisuke Maruyama (JPN) 69-66-67
206 - Kim Kyung-tae (KOR) 70-70-66
207 - Liang Wen-chong (CHN) 68-70-69, Kim Hyung-sung (KOR) 68-68-71
208 - Yuta Ikeda (JPN) 68-73-67, Yusaku Miyazato (JPN) 75-69-64, Toshinori Muto (JPN) 74-64-70
210 - Kenichi Kuboya (JPN) 69-72-69, Tetsuya Haraguchi (JPN) 66-74-70, Jyoti Randhawa ( IND ) 72-68-70
211 - Noh Seung-yul (KOR) 67-74-70, Toru Suzuki
(JPN) 73-64-74
212 - Makoto Inoue (JPN) 74-69-69, Yuji Igarashi (JPN) 67-75-70, Ted Oh (KOR) 70-72-70, Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 71-71-70, Tadahiro Takayama (JPN) 70-72-70, Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 66-72-74, Azuma Yano (JPN) 68-71-73

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