Thorbjørn Olesen will take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Thailand Classic as he seeks a seventh DP World Tour title.
The Dane, whose last victory came at last year’s Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett, carded a bogey-free eight under par round of 64 at Amata Spring Country Club to move two strokes clear of countryman Nicolai Højgaard and Germany’s Yannik Paul.
The 2018 Ryder Cup player carded four birdies each on the front and back nine, with his final gain of the day on the 15th hole proving crucial as he extended his advantage. Olesen has an outstanding record when holding the 54-hole lead, yielding five victories from six opportunities.
Højgaard also recorded an eight under par 64, carding seven birdies and an eagle, while Paul had five birdies on the back nine as he signed for a six under 66. Højgaard is a two-time winner on the DP World Tour with Paul earning his maiden victory at last year’s Mallorca Golf Open.
Six-time DP World Tour winner Joost Luiten moved up to fourth place on 15 under par after a seven under par 65, one stroke ahead of Kazuki Higa of Japan, South Korean Jeunghun Wang and England’s Dale Whitnell in a share of fifth.
A minute’s silence was observed by competitors and tournament staff at 3pm local time to mark the death of the Tour’s former Chief Referee John Paramor, who passed away on Friday at the age 67.
Thorbjørn Olesen: “I think overall it was a pretty good round. I didn’t get into a lot of trouble and some of the par fours and par fives I hit it close and could two-putt for birdie. I made it fairly easy for myself, which is nice. It’s not always like that.
“It’s unbelievable. The last three or four years there’s so many Danes coming up. The twins have so much talent and have shown that already. It’s very impressive for a country like Denmark. It’s not ideal with the weather, only five and a half million people. But I think we’re good at really grinding it out. When you have goals and work hard for it, it pays off. It’s really impressive and something I’m proud of.”
Nicolai Højgaard: “I’m very happy with the round today. I played good, solid off the tee again. Iron shots solid. I holed a few putts out there but I still feel like I left a few. This is what you want to do on a Saturday and put yourself into position for tomorrow.
“I haven’t played well for a long time and this year I feel like I’ve added some consistency to the game. I like where I’m at at the moment and the way things are trending. Adding consistency always helps and that’s been the difference this year. Obviously you like to fight for wins and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Yannik Paul: “I feel like I played well all day. I had a lot of good looks on the front nine. I hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go in. I just tried to stay patient. On the back nine I made a few putts and kept hitting it close and got rewarded in the end.
“I just try and focus on myself, that’s the best strategy. Just focus on myself and see where I end up. I’m not going to change too much, I have my strategy in place and I will stick to that.
“I won in Mallorca, so that helps me know that I can get it done. The other guys have won as well. It’s going to be a nice day, that’s what we practice for and we’re looking forward to a great day tomorrow.”