Dubai-based Shiv Kapur with caddy in Taipei on the Asian Tour. Image Credit: Supplied

Travis Smyth’s quest to win his first Asian Tour title gathered momentum today when he took the third-round lead in the $700,000 Yeangder TPC after shooting the best round of the day, a six-under-par 66 – in testing wet and windy conditions over the par 72, 7108 Yards Linkou course in Taipei.

The Australian, so often a presence on the leader board since the Asian Tour restarted last year, is 13 under for the tournament, with defending champion Lee Chieh-po from Chinese-Taipei (69) and Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat (71), the overnight leader, one shot back.

Dubai-based Shiv Kapur (Ind) shot a second consecutive 74 to follow his first round 64, to be on four under par on 212. Shiv’s round consisted of four bogeys and a birdie with nines of 36 and 38.

Ball striking

Shiv spoke to Gulf News, “My ball striking was off today in the rain and wind and it was a day of scrambling, which is never much fun. I am looking to post a decent final round to move up the leaderboard.”

Fellow Dubain MG Keyser IRSA), who represents Jumeirah Golf Estates, matched Shiv’s 74 to be one shot back of Shiv on three under par in tied 37th.

Sweden’s Bjorn Hellgren (69) and Settee Prakongvech from Thailand (70) are in tied fourth.

Chinese-Taipei’s latest junior sensation Hsieh Cheng-wei – who yesterday became the youngest male player to make the cut on one of the game’s main Tours, aged 14 – slipped back with a 78 but was still the talk of the tournament after his incredible achievement.

Smyth, 27, came close to winning the International Series England in June when he finished second, and knows exactly what he wants tomorrow.

He stormed out of the blocks today and was four under after four, thanks to an eagle on the par-five opening hole and birdies on three and four; he dropped his only shot on seven, and then settled into top spot with birdies on 10, 12 and 18.

Lee won here last year, although the tournament was not on the Asian Tour schedule due to travel restrictions caused by the global pandemic.

The event’s return to the Tour seems to have affected him little as he attempts to become the first player to successfully defend the prestigious tournament – which is the first event to be held in Chinese-Taipei in three years.

More birdies

He also got off to a fast start with birdies on the first three holes before three more birdies were offset by three bogeys. The inclement weather was a constant challenge for him.

After a birdie on the first followed by eight pars, Chapchai switched from consistency to inconsistency on the back side making three birdies, three bogies and just two pars.

Chapchai is on the comeback trail having refocused and practiced hard for the past five months. He is bidding to win for the first time in eight years; the last of his four Asian Tour victories came in the 2014 Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.

Shiv Kapur has a tee time tomorrow at 7.50 am off tee 1 in Match 15.