Kuala Lumpur - Justin Thomas birdied his last two holes Saturday to share the
54-hole lead with Brendan Steele as several others lurked in contention
in a superbly played CIMB Classic.
Thomas and Steele were tied at
20-under-par thanks to respective third rounds of 67 and 66 at the
par-72 Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Fellow American Kevin Na countered with an 8-under 64 to lie just a stroke back.
story of the tournament has been the bumper crop of ultra-low scores
reaped on the warm and humid course, with nine rounds of 64 or less so
"The scores are going to be low, as we have seen. Tournament-record kind of scores so far," said Steele.
"So you're going to have to shoot a really good round. There's still a lot of guys that can win."
Seventy-one of the 77 golfers still in the field are under par for the tournament.
a PGA Tour rookie looking for his first win, entered the day in the
lead after shooting the round of the tournament so far, a course-record
61 on Friday.
Three bogeys tripped him up on Saturday, however, with the third coming on the par-4 16th.
But Thomas steadied himself to birdie the final two holes, lofting a fine chip on 18 after flying the green with his approach.
"I feel great. This is where you want to put yourself at every event," Thomas said.
Hideki Matsuyama was among four players just three shots off the lead,
while former Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia was another stroke
back after a third-round 66.
Two-time defending champion Ryan
Moore was six strokes behind the leaders after also carding a 66, his
hopes of a repeat dimming.
Moore is hoping to become the first
golfer to win the same PGA Tour event three years in a row since Steve
Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-2011.
The $7 million tournament is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour and awards $1.26 million to the winner.
It is the third event of the PGA Tour's just-begun 2016 schedule, and offers 500 points toward the FedEX Cup championship.Leading third-round scores in the $7 million CIMB Classic at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Saturday:
196 - Justin Thomas (USA) 68-61-67, Brendan Steele (USA) 67-63-66
197 - Kevin Na (USA) 67-66-64
199 - James Hahn (USA) 70-65-64, Brian Harman (USA) 70-63-66, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 65-66-68, Spencer Levin (USA) 67-64-68
200 - Adam Scott (AUS) 68-66-66, Scott Piercy (USA) 62-69-69
202 - David Lingmerth (SWE) 73-65-64, Patrick Reed (USA) 68-68-66, Ryan Moore (USA) 67-69-66, Stewart Cink (USA) 68-64-70
203 - Cameron Triangle (USA) 70-68-65, Alex Cejka (GER) 66-71-66
204 - Tony Finau (USA) 71-67-66, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 70-67-67, Jim Herman (USA) 70-66-68, Jason Gore (USA) 66-68-70
205 - Charles Howell III (USA) 66-72-67, Paul Peterson (USA) 70-67-68