Ben Crane of the United States birdied three of his last four holes Saturday to take a two-shot lead in the Asia Pacific Classic with a 5-under 66 in the third round.
The 40-man tournament at The Mines Resort and Golf Club also is sanctioned by the Asian Tour, and the field includes a mixture of players form both the PGA Tour and the Asian circuit. The winner will receive $1 million from the $6 million purse at the conclusion of the 72-hole, stroke-play event, though the money doesn’t count as official on the PGA Tour money list.
The 36-year-old Crane has a 16-under total of 197 to sit two strokes ahead of Sweden's Carl Pettersson, who also shot a 66.
"I'm just trying to play freely and trying to play like when I was playing like a kid," Crane said. "I haven't been in this position a lot. ... Certainly, I'll pray tonight for peace and relaxation and come out tomorrow to enjoy this experience."
Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat carded a 65 for a share of third place with four other players, another two shots back. Brian Davis, fellow Englishman Luke Donald and American duo Ryan Moore and Ricky Barnes were also tied for third.
Overnight leader Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand fell to a share of eighth place after a 71.
Play was stopped for one hour because of a heavy thunderstorm, but when it resumed, Crane produced three straight birdies from the 15th to 17th.
Pettersson also finished strongly with five birdies on the back nine. He hit a 5-iron to within 4 feet of the flag for a birdie on No. 10 and then chipped in for another birdie on 14.
"It wasn't a great start. But I made some good birdies and played a good back nine to get myself back into the tournament," Pettersson said. "It was a fun finish."
Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh produced a 65 to sit tied for eighth place. The 26-year-old Siddikur grew up in a poor family in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka and built his first club by sticking the head of a broken 7-iron on a metal rod. He became the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour with his victory at the Brunei Open in August.
On Saturday, he sank six birdies and outscored playing partner Heath Slocum, who won the McGladrey Classic this month, by six shots.
"I think it was a great day," Siddikur said. "Drive, irons, chipping and putting were absolutely good."