American Andy Ogletree made a statement of intent to win his second International Series title when he took the third-round lead in the International Series Qatar today, after firing an outstanding six-under-par 66, on another windswept day at Doha Golf Club.
Ogletree, who triumphed in the International Series Egypt last November, put himself in a strong position for a repeat tomorrow, after moving to eight under for the tournament, which gave him a commanding five-shot lead from Thailand’s Suradit Yongcharoenchai.
Suradit started the day two in front but carded a 74 while Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat and Malaysian Ben Leong are a shot further back following rounds of 71 and 73 respectively.
After a poor finish to his second round yesterday when he made bogey on 15 and then a double bogey on 16 Ogletree looked like a man seeking redemption today, and he did just that with a confident bogey-free performance, that saw him make an eagle and four birdies.
The 24 year old, playing in the penultimate group, took the lead thanks a brilliant run of holes from nine, which saw him go birdie, eagle, birdie. The eagle on the par-five 10th came after a lengthy chip in, while his birdie on the ensuing hole saw him take a three-shot lead over Leong.
And he satisfactorily got his revenge on the 16th when he reached the short 307-yard par four with an iron off the tee to set up a two-putt birdie, which increased the lead to four.
A double bogey by Leong on the par-five 18th allowed the American to end the day with an even bigger buffer.
“Today was pretty good, didn’t make any mistakes really,” said Ogletree.
“I put it in the right positions all day off the tee. I think I kind of to set up the approach shots. The ground got pretty firm, obviously the wind is blowing super hard so I felt like I set up the angles pretty well, and I missed it in the right spots. I had really good speed on the greens, so it was really a solid day.”
Suradit, also the first-round leader, did well to stay in contention and was three over after six but played the next 12 in one under.
“I felt it was even windier today, so it was difficult, but I am happy I still have a chance,” said Suradit, a winner once before on the Asian Tour at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in 2019.
“I have had Kiradech’s (Aphibarnrat) caddie on my bag since the Saudi International. He has made a big difference and helped me be strong mentally. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Leong, looking for his first win on the Asian Tour in 15 years, found trouble on the left on the 18th and when trying to play a recovery shot back into the fairway his ball hit a rock and ricochet back down the fairway.
“I hit a rock, took an un-playable, and hit a rock. Fortunately, it went back to the fairway, it could have gone anywhere so I think it was a good seven. Look at it this way, life can be a lot worse than we thought,” said the Malaysian.
“Like I said yesterday I thought with this wind, a couple over, three over, that’s fine. It’s so hard out there even just standing over the putt you start wobbling. So, I’m okay, it wasn’t a great finish but there’s always tomorrow.”
Japan’s Hideto Tanihara, a 17-time winner in Japan, carded a 70 and is in outright fifth, seven adrift of Ogletree.