HK's Kho on the heels of leaders despite late blemish

HK's Kho on the heels of leaders despite late blemish

Queenstown: Hong Kong's Taichi Kho will have a chance to win the New Zealand Open at Millbrook Resort today after he moved into contention with a fine four-under-par 67 in yesterday's third round -- spoilt only by a double-bogey on the 18th that cost him the lead.

Last year's Asian Tour Rookie of the Year is two behind frontrunners Scott Hend and Matthew Griffin from Australia, who fired rounds of 67 and 69 respectively to move in front on 14 under at the Millbrook course.

Kho was in control for most of the day and was the outright leader playing the last, a par-three. However, he found water off the tee and after taking a drop required three more strokes.

"I was a little bit quick coming down the stretch," said the 23-year-old, who recorded an emotional and historic victory in the World City Championship last year, becoming the first player from Hong Kong to win on the Asian Tour.

"Didn't quite have the breath control. I stepped into that last shot a bit too quick. I think I picked the right shot, using a wedge. I tried to kind of ride the wind but just pulled and drew it."

Kho'd surged up the leaderboard following an aggressive front nine that saw him go out in four under with birdies on three, four, six and eight, which put him one off the lead.

A bogey on the 10th was quickly dealt with when he made birdies on 11 and 12 and another on 14. A dropped shot on 16 was also appropriately handled with a birdie on the penultimate hole before his uncharacteristic error on 18.

Kho is tied with fellow Asian Tour player Ian Snyman, who recorded a 65.

Overnight leader Hend appeared out of it after going out in two over but produced a remarkable, rollercoaster back nine featuring an eagle, four birdies and a double. The eagle came on the par-four 16th.

Japan's Kodai Ichihara (63) and Takahiro Hataji (66) and New Zealand's Josh Geary (68) are in joint third.

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