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Rumford on course for Asian double; Mickelson leads at Quail Hollow

updated 11:13 AM EDT, Sat May 4, 2013
Australia's Brett Rumford was in confident mood as he finished his third round at the China Open.
Australia's Brett Rumford was in confident mood as he finished his third round at the China Open.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brett Rumford leads China Open by a shot after third round
  • Rumford is bidding for successive wins on the European Tour
  • Local amateur Dou Wocheng continues to impress
  • Phil Mickelson leads Wells Fargo Championship on PGA Tour

(CNN) -- Brett Rumford is enjoying the European Tour's 'Asian Swing' and is well placed to secure back to back victories by taking a one-shot lead into the final round of the China Open Sunday.

The Australian, who won the Ballantine's Championship in Korea last weekend with an eagle at the first playoff hole, carded a third round three-under 69 in blustery conditions at the Binhai Lake Golf Club.

Rumford, 35, carded a hat-trick of birdies to catch overnight leader Mikko Ilonen and the Finn bogeyed the last after driving into the water to relinquish the lead.

It left Rumford on 12-under 204, one clear of Illonen, with Spain's Pablo Larrazabal in third, a further shot back.

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Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat will go into the final round in fourth -- three behind.

The tournament has been notable for the appearance of teenage local players, notably 12-year-old Ye Wocheng, who missed the cut.

But his amateur counterpart, Dou Zecheng, a relative veteran at 16, continued to impress and carded a level-par 72 for two-under overall.

Read: 'Baby' Zhe makes European Tour history

"I had some good iron shots and my putting was especially good today, but I still need to improve on my distance," he told AFP.

Up front, Rumford has taken charge but acknowledged conditions were difficult, particularly on the back nine.

"That was a tough day," he told the official European Tour website.

"I really started to feel things on the back nine. I did really well to hang in nicely with some tired golf swings, I mentally stayed with it -- physically not so much but mentally I hung in there."

Defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa was the last player to win two successive events on the European Tour, back in January 2012.

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He is nine shots behind in China after a third round 72.

Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson grabbed a share of the halfway lead at the $6.7 million Fargo Championship in North Carolina.

The legendary "leftie" carded a five-under 67 at Quail Hollow to stand on a nine-under 135.

Australia's Scott Gardiner, who matched Mickelson's 67, was tied for second on 137 with Americans Nick Watney and George McNeill.

World No.2 Rory McIlroy shared fifth place with five others, three behind.

Mickelson finished second behind McIlroy at Quail Hollow in 2010 and is tuning up for the U.S. Open championship at Merion next month.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy, one of seven joint leaders after the first round, shot a one-under 71 to be tied with England's Lee Westwood, Australian Rod Pampling and home pair Jason Kokrak and Derek Ernst.

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