Takumi Kanaya continued to put together one of his most impressive performances outside of Japan today when he took the third-round lead in the $2 million International Series Oman at Al Mouj Golf.
The Japanese star led at the start of the day by one shot from compatriot Ryo Hisatsune and that is how it finished today after they both returned five-under-par 67s. Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, such an ever-present name on the leaderboard for the past year on the Asian Tour, also shot 67 to sit in third place, three back from the leader.
Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Joaquin Niemann from Chile moved ominously into fourth, four off top spot, after rounds of 68 and 69 respectively.
Kanaya showed why so much is expected of him today with an exceptional round that showed he is comfortable leading from the front. Enjoying calmer conditions compared with the strong winds of Friday, the 24 year old moved to nine under for the tournament, helped by a brilliant run of four birdies in five holes from the eighth. He made six birdies in total and just one bogey.
Surprisingly he missed a four-foot putt for birdie on 17 and another makeable birdie putt on the last. “I feel good, it is because this course really suits me,” said Kanaya. “I am able to play my shots, find the fairways, and find the greens. Will just take it shot by shot tomorrow.”
Garcia bounced back well today after yesterday’s 76 – which considering the windy conditions was more like par for the course. “Obviously, today it was windy, but it wasn’t as windy as yesterday,” said Garcia.
“Yesterday a couple of holes kind of killed my round really. Other than that, I felt good. I played nicely today, gave myself a lot of chances. Made some really good putts, some went in, and some lipped out but really happy. It was important to put a good score out there today to have a chance tomorrow.”
A six-time winner on the Asian Tour, he is trying to win for the first time on the circuit since the 2018 Singapore Open. He added: “I don’t know, we will see. It is going to depend a bit on the weather and whether the wind picks up. We will see what the leaders finish tonight, it is looking like I could be two or three shots behind, so it is definitely going to take another good round. Hopefully I can shoot another good one and we will see what happens.”
Two-time Australian Open champion Matt Jones fired a 67 to finish on three under to give himself an outside chance on Sunday. The Australian is an expert playing in the wind and will hope for it to blow tomorrow