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Elvira takes lead in Malaysia, in hunt for first European tour title

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(Reuters) – Spain’s Nacho Elvira took a two-shot lead over American David Lipsky after the third round of the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur on a hot and humid Saturday to move one step closer to his first European Tour title.

Back-to-back birdies on the final two holes and five birdies before that gave Elvira a six under-par 66 in the third round at the Saujana Golf and Country Club. 2017 runner-up Lipsky and Australian Scott Hend carded 67s.

Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Hend were tied for the third spot, three strokes behind Elvira.

“I’m very happy with a 66,” Elvira, who was joint leader after the first round, told reporters. “It would be great to start here (winning on the European Tour) but I really don’t think about it too much.

“I like the way things are right now with my swing. I like the way I’ve turned round my season a little bit, let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Thomas Pieters, who had a one-shot lead after the second round on Friday, surrendered his advantage with a poor showing on the back nine where he had three double bogeys to finish six-over par.

Former world number one Ernie Els is four strokes behind Elvira. The South African is tied for sixth with Frenchman Benjamin Hebert, whose seven-under 65 was the lowest round of the day.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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