Jin leads by 1 into final round of Asia-Pacific Amateur

HONG KONG (AP) Jin Cheng of China pitched to a half-foot on the par-5 18th and made birdie for a 1-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead over two Australians after three rounds of the typhoon-threatened Asia-Pacific Amateur on Saturday.

Jin, who led after the opening two rounds, had a 54-hole total of 11-under 199 at Clearwater Bay. Australian amateur champion Cameron Davis and countryman Ryan Ruffels, the highest-ranked amateur in the field at No. 8, were one behind after 67s.

Winds picked up late in the day, toppling a crane used for TV coverage, but there were no reports of injuries.

The weather forecast for Sunday was for storms and continuing high winds and the threat of a typhoon, forcing organizers to tell players in a statement that if the fourth round is not played, the 54-hole scores would determine the winner. Tee times for Sunday were in threesomes off two tees, with the last groups off at 8:30 a.m.

''We needed to make as much of a move as we could today, and if we get a chance tomorrow to play, then great,'' Davis said.

Ruffels added: ''Our coaches told us that conditions were going to be pretty average tomorrow. It would have been great to be sitting at the top after 54.''

Yu Chun-an (67) of Taiwan and South Korea's Kim Tae-ho (69), were tied for fourth, three behind. Defending champion Antonio Murdaca of Australia, who won last year at Royal Melbourne, shot 64 to move into sixth place, four off the lead.

Guan Tianlang of China, the 2012 champion, shot 74 Saturday and was well off the pace at 5-over, tied for 47th and 16 strokes behind.

The tournament champion receives an invitation to next year's Masters. The champion and runner-up receive a place in the final round of qualifying for the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.