CHONGQING, CHINA—William Harrold remains on course to become England’s first PGA TOUR Series-China winner after a 2-under 70 at the Poly Golf Club put him 13-under and five strokes clear heading into the final round of the Chongqing Championship.
Canada’s Peter Campbell, who missed the cut at last week’s Chengdu Championship, fired a 68 in difficult conditions to tie for second at 8-under with Chinese Taipei youngster Chiehpo “Max” Lee (70).
Hong Kong’s Motin Yeung (70), Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira (69) and U.S.A.’s Trevor Sluman (67) were tied for fourth at 7-under, one ahead of Australia’s Max McCardle (73) and Japan’s Taihei Sato (67). Yi Cao (72) was the leading Chinese in a tie for ninth at 5-under with England’s Callum Tarren (73) and Korean Todd Baek (70).
Harrold, joint runner-up in Chengdu, managed to stay relaxed and extend his lead after a steady round featuring three birdies and one bogey.
“I just managed to keep cool and didn’t fluster too much. I hit a bad shot on hole 12, but I recovered nicely. I thought I’d lost my ball, but I found it, chipped it out and managed to save par,” said Harrold, who’s nicknamed the ‘Swinging Farmer’ in tribute to his dad Winston, a folk guitarist known as the ‘Singing Farmer’.
Harrold won his last pro title in 2014, but rounds of 67, 66 and 70 have put the 29-year-old Englishman in a good position to win again on Sunday, although he’s far from overconfident.
“It’s only five shots, that’s easily made up, but if I can play well again, we should be fine. There’s nothing I can do about anybody else. If someone shoots 7, 8 or 9-under tomorrow, they might catch up, but we’ll just see how it goes.”
Campbell, 35, picked up just one bogey on 15, the course’s most difficult hole, but recovered to birdie the next two holes to gain some momentum heading into Sunday.
“My ball striking all day was solid. I never really had anything off line and then I made a lot of putts which I think you’ve got to do out here,” said Campbell, who secured conditional status at last month’s International Qualifying Tournament No. 2 in Haikou.
“My best birdie was probably on 16. It was a comeback birdie after making a bad bogey on 15, and that just kind of kept the momentum going. Then I made another one on 17 and it was just a great day overall.”
Lee, 23, remained five behind Harrold, but is still hoping to secure his first win since turning pro in 2015.
“My irons were good. The tee shot is not the key to doing well on this golf course, but the putting is extremely important. I feel like I am playing comfortably here,” Lee said.
“I have never won since I turned pro, so I am looking forward to the final round. My aim this year is to finish top three on the PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit.”
Every tournament on this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China offers RMB 1.5 million, a 25-percent increase over purse levels from 2016.
The PGA TOUR established PGA TOUR Series-China in 2014 as its third international developmental tour, following in the footsteps of PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada. Since its inception, PGA TOUR Series-China players have received Official World Golf Ranking points for top finishes at official tournaments.