Cormac Sharvin fired a magnificent seven birdies but eventually signed for a two-under par 70 after returning a round riddled with mistakes at the Hainan Open.
The 27-year old Ardglass professional posted three bogeys and a double, with three of those dropped shots coming over his last four holes, as he moved back inside the top-20 at three-under par.
Sharvin, who’s set to graduate to the European Tour next season, sits in a tie for 17th at the first of two events as part of the Challenge Tour’s lucrative Asia swing.
With one round to go, the Northern Irishman will hope to make bank this week with increased prize purses of US$350,000 up for grabs in Hainan before a bumper US500,000 kitty in Foshan next week.
The Challenge Tour Grand Final then brings the curtain down on Sharvin’s campaign at Alcanada from November 7.
Francesco Laporta posted a dazzling eight-under par round of 64 on day three and will take a two-stroke lead into the final round at Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club.
The Italian’s nearest challenger is Wil Besseling, who reached ten-under par with a round of 69, while the Dutchman’s fellow 36-hole leader Robin Roussel is a shot further back on nine under par.
Laporta made the turn in 30 following back-to-back eagles at the par five sixth and the par four seventh and he almost carded a third eagle of the day on the 18th, but his approach shot span to within a hair’s breadth of the hole before he duly tapped in for birdie.
“It was just slightly right of the hole, but I won’t complain with a birdie,” he said. “It was a tough hole today; it was very windy and I almost made eagle, but a birdie was enough.
“I’m feeling good. I said that at the start of this week and I still feel the same. I played solid last week at the Italian Open, I’m feeling good and I would like the chance to win one tournament this year. Today was great and I hope to have another one tomorrow.”
The 29-year-old is projected to move to the top of the Road to Mallorca Rankings with a victory but he insists that is not on his mind, with simply playing well at the forefront of his thoughts.
“I’m not thinking about winning the Rankings,” he said. “I just want to play well. My aim this week was a top ten and I’m in a good position to be up there. I just want to play well and see what happens.
“I’m going to have an afternoon off. I’ll go to the gym and then just have a couple of hours relaxing. I’ll have a nice dinner and not worry about practicing. I feel a bit tired so I’m just going to rest and get ready for tomorrow.”
The picturesque Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club has received high praise from numerous players this week and Laporta is no different, judging it as one of the best venues of the season.
“It is a lovely course,” he said. “The shape is just amazing. Everything is perfect because everyone is so kind here and the golf course is just unbelievable.
“The hotel is perfect, the course is brilliant and the fairways and greens are perfect. It’s one of the best courses of the year.”
Richard Bland, Sebastian Heisele, Adrian Meronk and Ben Stow are well-placed for a title challenge tomorrow, with the quartet sitting four shots off the lead on eight-under par in tied fourth, with Meronk firing a seven under par round of 65 to move into contention.
The leader will get his final round under way at 11.00am local time alongside Besseling and Roussel, with the final round beginning at 8.55am local time.
Full scoring HERE