SINGAPORE'S Mardan Mamat moved into position for his second major victory on Philippine soil in four years when he took a four-shot lead heading into the final round of the US$1 million Resorts World Manila Masters presented by 918.com on Saturday.
The 47-year-old, who has held a share of the first and second-round lead, fired a six-under par 66 at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club to move to 17-under 199 for the tournament and a round away from another victory to add to his triumph in the 2012 Philippine Open at Wack Wack.
"I think I would move to the Philippines if I can win here again (laughs),” said Mamat.
The final round, howeverm won't be a walk in the park for Mamat as Thai hotshot Kiradech Aphibarnrat birdied the last hole for a 68 to ensure a final round match-up with Mardan in what is the richest golf tournament in the Philippines.
Frenchman Lioniel Weber fired a superb 64 to move to third place, five behind the leader.
American Berry Henson, who also carded a 64, settled for a share of fourth place with Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung, who returned a 68. Last year’s runner-up Prom Meesawat of Thailand produced a new course record of 63 which included seven birdies and one eagle that left him in tied ninth place on 208.
“I got off to a great start which kind of gave me a good cushion. I kept myself in my own zone. I knew I had to stay calm to maintain my lead. I had to keep myself comfortable which is key for me to playing well. I managed to do that and I am happy,” said Mardan.
Two of his three Asian Tour victories were wire-to-wire triumphs but the Singaporean, who is battling to save his Tour card as he lies in 74th position on the Order of Merit, knows the threat that reigning Asian Tour number one Kiradech will pose on Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to play with Kiradech. He’s a very good player and I know he is a long-hitter so we will see how it goes,” said Mardan. “I’ve been struggling with my game all these while so it would mean a lot for me to win this tournament."