Joshi and Henson chase leaders at Maybank Championship
Kuala Lumpur, February 3: India’s Khalin Joshi and Berry Henson of the United States took advantage of opening eagles to stay in the title hunt after the third round of the Maybank Championship on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Joshi and Henson, who also eagled the last hole, fired matching seven-under-par 65s to trail co-leaders Jorge Campillo of Spain and world number 47 Dylan Frittelli of South Africa by a shot, at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
Campillo and Frittelli both returned on 66s to set the pace on 15-under-par 201 in a crowded leaderboard at the US$3 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
The 52-year-old Prayad Marksaeng turned back the clock after posting a bogey-free 67 while Japanese heartthrob Ryo Ishikawa fired a sparkling 63 to share fifth place. Co-overnight leaders Phachara Khongwatmai (70) and Nino Bertasio (70), Hideto Tanihara (68) and Marc Warren (69) were also tied for fifth.
Joshi was delighted to be in the hunt for a first Asian Tour victory in his debut appearance at the Maybank Championship. The amiable Indian chipped in from 20 yards for an opening eagle and returned with five birdies to stay in the title hunt.
The 38-year-old Henson continued his fine form after finishing eighth and fourth in Singapore and Myanmar respectively in the last two weeks. He has enjoyed an amazing run so far after returning from a wrist injury where he was side-lined for 18 months.
Frittelli, who won the Mauritius Open in December where he defeated Arjun Atwal in a play-off, continued his hot form. He also finished tied 19th and tied sixth place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai before the Maybank Championship to break into the top-50 in the world.
Campillo of Spain eagled the first hole from 35 feet before marking his card with four birdies to head into the final 18 holes with a fighting chance to win his career’s first victory.
Did you know?
- This is Frittelli’s first Maybank Championship appearance. He enjoyed a superb 2017 season where he won twice. Since his win in Mauritius last December, he has battled tooth-and-nail to break into the top-50 in the world.
- After 54 holes, Frittelli has only dropped two bogeys. He was flawless in his round of six birdies today.
- This is Campillo’s third appearance at the Maybank Championship. He finished tied fourth in 2016 and tied 55th in last year’s showpiece.
- Joshi finished 52nd on the Order of Merit last season to secure a full Asian Tour card for the first time in his career. He has missed the cut five times in his last six appearances but has rediscovered his form this week.
- His best finish on the Asian Tour was finishing second last year at the Take Solutions Masters on his home ground in Bengaluru, India.
- Henson won his first Asian Tour title at the 2011 Philippines Open. He is the only player today to shoot two eagles for a round of 65 which was only marred by a double bogey on the 14th hole.
- He holed his first eagle from five feet and enjoyed a standing ovation on the 18th when he rolled in his 10-foot eagle putt.
- Prayad is in contention for an 11th Asian Tour title. The Thai veteran changed to a new driver and putter on Friday which helped him to a second round 65 and a 67 today.
- Overnight co-leader Phachara posted three birdies in seven holes. He bogeyed the ninth hole and returned with nine straight pars to trail the leaders by two shots.
- Ryan Fox of Australia holed-out for a magical albatross on the first hole with a six-iron from 213 yards. It was the Maybank Championship’s first albatross and 25th on the Asian Tour.
- Interestingly, the opening hole at Saujana was playing the easiest today as players recorded six eagles, one albatross, 45 birdies, 27 pars and only two bogeys.