Pagunsan's ready for final charge, holds lead with 64

Pagunsan's ready for final charge, holds lead with 64

Filipino veteran Juvic Pagunsan held steady for a splendid six-under-par 64 to remain one shot clear after the third round of the Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament on Saturday.

The 45-year-old recovered from a bogey on the opening hole to shoot seven birdies over the next 10 holes, starting from the third hole.

He then made six consecutive pars to lead with his three-day total of 19-under-par 191, putting himself in a prime position to win his second JGTO title.

Home star Taiga Semikawa missed the chance to join Pagunsan at the top after conceding a bogey on the last hole and signing for a matching 64.

The 22-year-old Semikawa, who is aiming for his second win of the season and fourth overall, had a brilliant day except for squandering a precious stroke.

He fired an eagle on the par-five 10th and gained five shots on holes three, four, eight, 13, and 16.

Yusaku Hosnono and Yuki Inamori carded 63 and 65, respectively, sharing the third spot at 16-under-par.

 Taihei Sato was alone in fifth place following a 65, six shots off the pace.

After a close battle with Semikawa today, Pagunsan expects another competitive fight with his talented rival on the final day as he aims to return to the winners' circle since his last victory at the 2021 Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open.

Pagunsan admitted his admiration for Semikawa, who gained prominence last season by winning the Panasonic Open and Japan Open titles as an amateur.

Semikawa turned professional in November and won the Kansai Open for his third JGTO title last month.

"I have played with him twice already, including today. He's just so good at everything!" said Pagunsan.

"It was really fun playing alongside him. I'm amazed by his power. I'll probably need him to make a mistake if I want a chance to win tomorrow.

"If he doesn't, the title is his to lose. Tomorrow is going to be tough, but I need to focus on my own game. I'm in good shape too. My distance control was good today, but my putting was even better."

With a slim one-shot advantage, Pagunsan emphasized the need to continue making birdies and shoot low to secure victory.

"I don't know what the winning score will be. I think it's still anyone's game at this point. For someone currently at 16-under, they can still win if they shoot 10-under and finish at 26-under, so anything can happen," he said.

Semikawa, meanwhile, pledged to give Pagunsan a tough challenge.

"On this course, a two or three-stroke difference feels like it doesn't matter. I believe the player who goes low tomorrow will win, and I want to be that person. I will work hard to make enough birdies to achieve that."

Leading third round scores:

191: Juvic Pagunsan (Phi) 64-63-64;

192: Taiga Semikawa 63-65-64;

194: Yusaku Hosono 63-68-63, Yuki Inamori 64-65-65;

197: Taihei Sato 68-64-65;

198: Yusuke Sakamoto 68-66-64, Tomohiro Kondo 67-67-64, Yosuke Tsukada 64-69-65, Tatsunori Nukaga 65-70-63, Ataru Tokumoto 64-69-65, Tomoyo Ikemura 65-68-65, Dylan Perry (Aus) 66-69-63, Tomofumi Ouchi 70-62-66, Shiso Go 68-63-67.