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China's Dou on the cusp of history, shares lead at Byron Nelson golf championships

Mckinney (Texas), May 14 (IANS) Chinas Marty Zecheng Dou put himself on the threshold of a historic victory on the PGA TOUR after firing a bogey-free 7-under 64 to share the third-round lead at the AT&T Byron Nelson golf championships with Austin Eckroat and Ryan Palmer.

The 26-year-old Dou, who started using the AimPoint technique to read the putting greens recently, wielded a hot putter as he made seven birdies at TPC Craig Ranch, his adopted home course, including four over the last six holes to earn his first career 54-hole lead/co-lead.

While Dou was up on top, Korean Si Woo Kim (68) was in T-4 and his fellow countryman Sung Kang (66) was in T-8 and Chinese Ta’pei’s CT Pan (68) was in T-12.

The best finish by a mainland Chinese golfer on the PGA TOUR was a solo third place by Haotong Li at the 2017 Open Championship whi’e Dou’s tied 17th at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship last year currently stands as his career-best result to d”te.

“I don’t want to think about it, but it’s going to be big f”r sure,” said Dou when asked what the impact of a victory would mean for golf in”China. “There is a whole lot more golf to play, so I’m in a good position like this, creating more chances, and that’s all I’m t”inking.”

He lives just a seven-minute drive away from TPC Craig Ranch and has used his familiarity to great effect, scrambling to save pars on six occasions on Saturday and was ranked first for Strokes Gained: Putting where he gained 3.74 strokes over the field.

The young Chinese, who is a three-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour, and is ready for a dog fight on Sunday against Eckroat, who is chasing a first win as well, and four-time winner Ryan, where they share the lead on 16-under 197.

Vincent Norman (65), Jason Day (66), Si Woo Kim (68) and overnight co-leader Scottie Scheffler (71) shared fourth place on 199, two strokes back.

Dou won the PGA TOUR Series China Order of Merit in 2016 following four victories when he was 19.

Palmer, who is 20 years older than Dou, is seeking his first win since 2019 and hung on to his overnight co-lead with three birdies over his closing five holes after making bogeys on Hole Nos. 10 and 12.

–IANS

cs/bsk

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