Golf: Willett in pole position to end win drought at Maybank Championship

Danny Willett smiles as he celebrates his birdie shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the 2017 Maybank Malaysia Championship golf tournament on Feb 11, 2017.
Danny Willett smiles as he celebrates his birdie shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the 2017 Maybank Malaysia Championship golf tournament on Feb 11, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - Danny Willett stayed on course to end a title drought that has lasted 10 months, carding home a 67 to take a three-shot lead over David Lipsky at the Maybank Championship Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Englishman Willett, 29, almost struck an eagle on the final hole for a better advantage but his six birdies give him an upper hand heading into the final round on Sunday.

"I'm not sure what will win it to be honest, depends on if we pitch up and it's flat calm. I think there's a few guys that can go low if it's windy like this," said Willett.

"One or two under par is a good knock out there so I think it all depends on the weather tomorrow."

Ever since he triumphed at the US Masters in April 2016, Willett has only managed three top ten finishes, with the last one coming at December's Hong Kong Open where he came joint sixth.

This year, the world No. 15 missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi Championship, before finishing tied-54 at the Dubai Desert Classic, a tournament where he triumphed in 2016.

American Lipsky stays in close contention after he turned in a 68, courtesy of five birdies, three of which came on the par-5 holes.

"I drove it well and scrambled well and I'm pretty happy with what I shot. Just keep doing what I'm doing. I'm playing pretty well and giving myself opportunities. I'll need to take advantage of the par fives," said Lipsky.

"My last birdie before 18 was on 10 so I'm happy to have made that. Danny (Willett) and I are friends and it'll be neat out there competing."

Frenchman Alexander Levy also sits within touching distance of Willett, four shots back. Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who went on a 11-birdie spree on Friday, faltered with a one-over-par 73 to lie five strokes behind with a chasing pack that includes former 2010 US Open runner-up Gregory Havret.