S'pore No. 1 Mardan in the hunt in Perth, but it could have been better, says Godfrey Robert
He acknowledged the appreciative gallery's loud applause with a pinch of his Yonex cap.
Moments earlier, he made a difficult chip from 35 metres look easy; spinning the ball over a deep bunker to about four feet from the pin.
A couple of minutes later, though, the same gallery sighed, after Mardan Mamat's putt just lipped out. Wearing a downcast look, he tossed the ball to his caddie, Drew Dubberlin.
The finishing par-four hole that gave him a major boost on Friday after he sank a birdie, saw him rue a bogey yesterday.
And with that, the Singaporean No. 1 (right), who at one stage was a lone in fourth spot on 11 under, slipped to joint-sixth on nine under after earlier bogeying the 16th hole.
Still, as Mardan - who shot yet another three-under 69 - looked ahead to today's final round of the A$1.75 million ($1.75m) Handa Perth International at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club, he preffered to dwell on the positives.
"I was struggling in the initial holes but I managed to get my momentum back on my back-nine. I was talking to my caddie on the 14th tee box on whether I should go for the green or just lay up.
"His advice was that the worst-case scenario would be the ball landing up in the bunker. I managed to hit the ball well, carry it through the bunker and saw it landing on the green," said the 48-year-old five-time Asian Tour winner, who picked up a birdie at the 14th.
But two dropped shots on holes 16 and 18 saw him slip down the leaderboard with his three-day total of nine-under 207 - six shots adrift of leader Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.
Mardan added: "I would be lying if I said I was not looking at the leaderboard. I got close to the leaders after making another birdie on 15 but dropped two shots in the last three holes which pegged me back."
Despite that setback, Mardan still believes in the unpredictability of golf and is ready for a final-day charge.
"You never know, anything can happen tomorrow. If I putt well, I should be able to post a low score tomorrow.
"I've gained more confidence this week and I'm feeling really positive about myself," he said, beaming when told that a 10th-place finish would bag him $35,000.
Oosthuizen shot a 67 for a 201 total that gave him a three-shot advantage over Peter Uihlein (71) of the United States and France's Romain Wattel (65).
201: Louis Oosthuizen 70-64-67.
204: Romain Wattel 66-73-65, Peter Uihlein 65-68-71.
205: Jason Scrivener 69-67-69.
206: Brett Rumford 68-65-73.
207: Marcus Fraser 69-73-65, Mikko Korhonen 71-70-66, Richard Lee 68-71-68, Mardan Mamat 69-69-69, Alexander Levy 70-67-70.
208: Matthew Griffin 72-71-65, Peter Senior 69-73-66, Benjamin Hebert 70-70-68, David Drysdale 69-70-69.