Niall Turner in action in the third round of the Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic. Photo courtesy of asiantour.comNiall Turner remained on track for his first major tour victory after a third round 68 left him just a shot off the lead in the Asian Tour’s Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic.

The 28-year old from Cork went out in three under 33 thanks to birdies on the second, fifth and sixth at the Nick Faldo designed Angkor Golf Resort in scorching Siem Reap.

And while he made his first bogey of the week at the par-three 12th (his only other mistake was a double bogey six at his 11th hole in round one), he hit back with birdies at the 13th and 15th to trail Korea’s Kim Hyung-Sung by a shot on 14 under. Leaderboard

“I played really well again,” Turner said. “Hit a lot of close iron shots. Four of the five birdies I made were tap ins. Played really well again. Look forward to tomorrow being in the hunt.

“Everything is pretty good. I’m hitting it good, putting it well, chipping well.  It’s pretty solid. Hope it continues tomorrow.”

Niall Turner tees off on the eighth at Angkor Golf Resort. Please click to enlargeKim, the joint overnight leader, battled to a four-under-par 68 at a sun-baked Angkor Golf Resort to lead on 15-under-par 201 in the US$300,000 Asian Tour tournament.

“I feel good about tomorrow and I’ll need to keep my focus which is tough. It’s so hot out there,” said Kim, who is a three-time winner on the Korean circuit. “I’m just going to enjoy my game tomorrow and try to keep the ball in play.

“Two years ago, I  was leading into the last day in Japan but I didn’t win. My shoulder wasn’t good at that time but I’m now fully fit.”
Turner, 28, kept pace with the leader as they matched each other birdie for birdie.
“I was trying to catch him (Kim) all day. He played great. If he plays the same tomorrow it’ll be hard to catch him. We kind of pushed each other. He would make a birdie and I would make a birdie. It was an enjoyable round,” said Turner, who is playing in his second season in Asia.

“The plan tomorrow is to do the same thing as I’ve been doing the last three days, just trying to hit the ball well and putt well. Stay in the present.
“My game has been solid all round. It’s just been enjoyable. It’s easy to enjoy the game when you’re hitting it good and putting well.”

Filipino Elmer Salvador reeled in four straight birdies after the turn for a 68 and a share of third place, four off the lead, alongside talented Thai Thanyakon Khrongpha, who also carded a 68.

India’s newcomer Ajeetesh Sandhu stayed on the fringe of contention with a bogey-free 69 leaving him on 206 with first round leader Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea (69).