• Thailand Golf Championship, Round Three

Schwartzel in cruise control in Thailand

ESPN staff
December 8, 2012
Charl Schwartzel has been the class of the field so far this week © Getty Images

Charl Schwartzel maintained a vice-like grip on the Thailand Golf Championship, moving to 18-under after 54 holes.

The South African has been in superb form all week, as he bids to go one better than 12 months ago, and a 68 leaves him five clear of nearest rival Daniel Chopra.

For the third day in a row at Amata Spring Country Club, Schwartzel began with a birdie on the first and it again set the tone for some sparkling play from the 2011 Masters champion.

He did not need to match his 65s from the first two days, but when challenged he answered the call.

A bogey at the ninth briefly opened the door and Thitiphun Chuayprakong cut the gap to three shots, but within a matter of seconds Schwartzel had fired a brilliant iron into the heart of the 11th green and stroked in the eagle putt to move five ahead.

A run of four pars coming home saw Schwartzel sign for a 68 but it could have been better as he left makeable putts at 15, 16 and 17 above ground.

Chuayprakong failed to keep up the momentum and slipped back to 12-under, leaving Chopra as the nearest pursuer at 13-under.

Sergio Garcia made a brilliant birdie on 18 to move to 10-under thanks to a round of 68.

Lee Westwood will not be defending his title, as he could muster only a two-under round of 70 to move to seven-under. That is one shot better off than Simon Dyson who stormed up the leaderboard with a superb 67.

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