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Arjun Singh leaps to top

Shah Alam (Malaysia), Dec. 7 (AP): After leading the first two rounds, South African Craig Kamps hit two bogeys and was forced to share the top spot with India’s Arjun Singh in the third round of the rain-interrupted $500,000 Volvo Masters Saturday.

Kamps, currently number 33 in the Asian order of merit and chasing his first victory of the season, had bogeys on the sixth and 14th holes to finish with a three-under 69 at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club.

Singh, tied for second the previous day, caught up with Kamps when he sank four birdies on the back nine to end with a four-under 68. Kamps and Singh, with three-day scores of 13-under 203, are only one stroke ahead of American Jim Johnson.

Filipino Gerald Rosales and Singapore’s Mardan Mamat carded scores of six-under 66 to move into joint third at 11-under 205. “I felt like I was scrambling all the time even though I was hitting good shots. I have been leading for three days and getting used to it,” said Kamps, 37, whose solid performance in Malaysia came in the wake of his eighth-place finish at the Hong Kong Open last week.

Singh gave a strong showing despite rain holding up play for about 70 minutes, capping his day with a spectacular shot on the 15th. “I holed the shot from 160 yards with an eight iron. That was my shot for the week,” said a delighted Singh.

Looking ahead to his chances Sunday, Singh said that it was the first time he was leading at the third round on the Asian PGA Tour and said he would stick to his strategy.

“Kamps is playing well but my game plan will be the same, take it one shot at a time and be patient,” said Singh, currently 28th in the Asian order of merit.

The Volvo Masters of Asia is the season-ending tournament in the region, and much of the focus has been on the contenders for the Asian title: current leader Jyoti Randhawa of India, defending champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Arjun Atwal, also from India.

Randhawa, after two rounds of 69, was one-over Saturday and way down the list with a three-day score of four-under 211. Jaidee, who was hoping to become the first player to complete back-to-back merit wins, carded a one-under 71 for a total of 209.

Atwal blew up with a seven-over 79 for a total score of 214. Barring a major move by Jaidee in the final round, Randhawa will emerge the first Indian to win the title.

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