Jamal hot on Higa's heels
Kazuki Higa continued his march towards the title of the BTI Open with a three-under-par (69) in the penultimate round at the Kurmitola Golf Club, but Bangladesh's Jamal Mollah was in hot pursuit after firing a four-under-par (68) of his own to eat into the Japanese's lead.
Higa, who started the tournament with an incredible 10-under-par (62) on the opening day, has seen his five-stroke lead sink to a three stroke one with an aggregate score of 15-under-par (201) in the event, jointly tri-sanctioned by the PGTI, ADT and BPGA.
Mollah showed brilliant consistency to fire a third successive 68 in as many rounds as he searches for his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) win. Sweden's Malcolm Kokocinski was joint-third with a 10-under-par alongside Argentina's Miguel Carballo.
However with the surprising calm Higa -- who is playing only his second tournament so far -- has shown so far, it will be an uphill task for the Bangladeshi to steal a win. His assurance has not waned throughout the event and yesterday was more of the same. The 23-year-old exchanged four birdies against one bogey, only the second time he has dropped a shot in the tournament.
The Okinawa local was hopeful of repeating his steely performances in the final round.
"I don't feel any pressure. I feel that I'm good enough to win this tournament. I'm not surprised that I'm leading but I was surprised to shoot a 62 on the first day! Obviously that's helped me so far so I hope to stick to my game plan and continue playing well," he added.
"I will now look to repeat the same stuff in the final round. In round four, my plan will be to mix caution with aggression by grabbing my opportunities and at the same time not trying to do anything fancy," Higa said.
Jamal, who had an early bogey before finding five birdies, lamented a few missed opportunities but remained hopeful of pulling off an upset.
"I'll look to treat the last round like any other round I've played here and try and put my best foot forward. I have the advantage of local knowledge and have won at the KGC on multiple occasions in the past which also counts. The crowd support will be another factor that could help me raise my game in round four," Jamal said.
"If I play well, a round of six to seven under is very much on the cards which would in turn give me a shot at my first ever international title."
Sajib Ali, who was joint-second overnight, slipped all the way to fifth with a one-over-par (73). He is joined by another local, Shakhawat Sohel, with scores of seven-under-par. Meanwhile,
Bangladesh's two-time Asian Tour winner Siddikur Rahman fell out of the top 10 despite carding a one-under-par (71). He is 11th with an aggregate 6-under-par, one stroke ahead of Bangladesh's Dulal Hossain.