Singh returned a 2-under-par 69 at Naha Golf Club as he took a step closer towards ending a five-year winless run. However, he had to survive some anxious moments after sending his tee shot out of bounds on the 13th hole before running up a 6.
He recovered strongly with birdies on 15 and 17 and will head into Sunday's final round well clear of Japan's Hideki Kase, who moved into the title frame with a fine 66. First-round leader Charlie Wi of Korea kept within striking reach with a 69 to lie five back along with Australian Scott Barr and Japan's Soushi Tajima.
The $830,000 Okinawa Open is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour and is the first counting event for the 2005 season for both Tours.
'It was very steady round until the 13th. I pulled my tee shot to the left and I never thought it was going to be out of bounce. I actually did not know the OB was there but the ball kicked left when it hit the cart path,' said Singh, who registered five birdies and one bogey to go with his 13th hole misfortune.
Singh, who has a three-day total of 15-under-par 198, said his family's support has been influential this week. 'On the phone last night with my family, they told me to not think about the result. They said to just try to concentrate on what I have to face on each shot.
'Hitting into out of bounds made me panic. I do not normally look at the leaderboard but this time, I did. The game changed after that hole but my caddie helped me as well and it was good to birdie 15 and 17,' said Singh, who shot a course record 62 on Friday.
Kase kept up the home challenge with a six-birdie round to lie on 202 while Tajima, winner of the Asian Qualifying School in 2000, also shot a 66 to keep up his title charge on 203 with Wi and Barr, who shot a 68.
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