(Reuters) – China’s Li Haotong fired five birdies on the front nine to grab a three-stroke advantage over holder Justin Rose and Alexander Levy on day three at the Turkish Airlines Open on Saturday.
Starting the third round three shots off the pace, Li turned in 29 before sinking a spectacular eagle at the 10th hole to claim a two-shot lead.
Another birdie at the 12th saw the 23-year-old Li, who won the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this season, sign for a 63 to set the clubhouse target at 17 under par.
“It’s going to be an exciting day tomorrow and I’m looking forward to going against Rosey,” Li said of his British rival.
“I definitely got a lot of confidence from Dubai and since then I’ve been playing a lot of big events.”
Overnight leader Rose, who would go back to the top of the world rankings with a victory on Sunday, turned in 31 but struggled to carry the momentum on the back nine.
The Englishman bogeyed the 10th after finding the water for the second day in a row but birdied the 11th and 12th where he sank a 15-foot putt to get back within one shot of the lead.
He saved par on the par-five 15th after again finding water but failed to repeat the feat on the final hole which he bogeyed to hand Li a cushion heading into Sunday’s final round.
Frenchman Levy made the most of the low-scoring conditions at Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort to card a 66 and share second spot with Rose, one shot clear of the 2016 champion Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)