Poulter a long shot for two-in-a-row
Only one player has won back-to-back titles in this tournament's history. Today, Ian Poulter will attempt to make it two, as he tries to emulate Taiwanese Hsieh Yung-yo (1963-64).
The defending champion has put himself in a reasonable position after carding a three-under 67 yesterday, his best score this week following a 71 and 68 on the first two days.
Poulter has not been at his scintillating best, as he was when shooting a 10-under 60 on the second day last year, but a slight smile was back on his face as he finished six shots off the pace.
'I have to be patient. I'm right in there and no one is going to run away with it,' predicted the Englishman after collecting five birdies and two bogeys.
It could have been better. Poulter two-putted his way back home from the 10th hole and his frustration was capped when he missed an easy birdie putt at the 18th.
'I made quite a few mistakes on the front nine, but then had my chances on the way back. It is frustrating not to take my chances,' he said. 'It might be one of the shortest courses we play all year, but it's a tough one. The course is tough because the greens are firm and fast, yet today was scoreable.
'At times my patience has run thin this week but I have kept my focus. I will go out there and have some fun, and try to put a smile on my face by rolling in a few putts.'
Meanwhile, some local knowledge propelled little-known South African Peter Karmis to what looked set to be the round of the day as he stormed to six under after six birdies and no bogies in his first 16 holes. A perfect card was blotted with bogeys at 17 and 18, but Karmis was still delighted - and was quick to credit his Hong Kong Golf Club caddie.
'Around the green is tough, but my caddie is so hot with the lines,' the 30-year-old smiled. 'He's a local guy and he's amazing, he's giving me great lines, I can't actually believe it!'