Danny Willett three clear in Kuala Lumpur

Danny Willett lines up a putt during the Maybank Championship Malaysia at Saujana Golf Club. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Danny Willett lines up a putt during the Maybank Championship Malaysia at Saujana Golf Club. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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Danny Willett takes a three-shot lead into the final round of the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur as he looks to claim a first Tour title since victory at the Masters.

Englishman Willett went round in 67 for the second consecutive day to lead American David Lipsky by three shots and Frenchman Alexander Levy by a further stroke at Saujana Golf and Country Club.

Willett, 29, who finished second in the Race To Dubai rankings in 2016, is coming back to form after an early-season struggle and is now in pole position to secure his first victory since winning at Augusta National last April.

“It was up and down, I’d have taken a 67 at the start of the day, it spreads the top five or six guys out a bit more and further away,” Willett said.

“I’m probably going to go hit a few and make a few little minor tweaks here and there and try to get the driver to where it has been most of the week.

“I’m not sure what will win it to be honest, it depends on if we pitch up and it’s flat calm. I think there’s a few guys that can go low if it’s windy like this. One or two under par is a good knock out there so I think it all depends on the weather tomorrow.”

Scotland’s Marc Warren, who had led after the opening day following a brilliant 63 before slipping back in the second round, could only card a level par 72 yesterday which left him ten shots adrift of Willett.

Second-round leader Bernd Wiesberger is tied for fourth after enduring a difficult round of 73 and was five shots off the lead. Gregory Havret and Panuphol Pittayarat both carded rounds of 66 to join Wiesberger on 11-under.

Lipsky said: “I played really well today, but didn’t hit it my best coming into the greens. I drove it well and scrambled well and I’m pretty happy with what I shot. I 
just need to keep doing what I’m doing.

“I’m playing pretty well and giving myself opportunities. I’ll need to take advantage of the par fives tomorrow, that’s what I need to do.

“My last birdie before 18 was on ten so I’m happy to have made that. Danny and I are friends and it will be neat out there competing.”

At the Oates Vic Open in Australia, England’s Melissa Reid produced a superb third round to surge to the top of the leaderboard.

The 29-year-old carded a six-under-par 67 to open up a two-shot lead and give herself a fine chance of winning a sixth Ladies European Tour title. Reid started the day three shots behind overnight leader Nicole Broch Larsen but produced five birdies and an eagle to take her place at the summit.

American Angel Yin and home favourite Su Oh are at the front of the chasing pack on 13-under after rounds of 68 and 70 respectively.

Broch Larsen capitulated to fall out of contention, going round in 79 to finish six-under and tied for 21st. England’s Holly Clyburn is joint seventh on 11-under after a round of 72, Florentyna Parker is a further shot behind after a second consecutive 69 while Scotland’s Carly Booth is on nine-under after shooting a 70

Reid said: “I feel like I have struck the ball really well all week and also in the Bahamas two weeks ago. The difference is that I am starting to make some putts at important times.”

Reid added: “To win here would be like winning an Australian Open, the crowds are massive and it is a great atmosphere playing out here, this is a great field and I will need to play well tomorrow to win.”

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