Shanghai: India's sole representative at the WGC-HSBC Champions Gaganjeet Bhullar, who was simply brilliant till the 15th hole on the second day, had a big struggle once again in the third round, as he carded a 75 and found himself languishing in the bottom half of the leaderboard with a share of 44th place.
Bhullar started well with two birdies on second and third, but then began his struggle. He bogeyed the fourth and ninth but had a birdie in between on eighth. He started the back nine with a triple bogey and also had a double bogey on 15th and another bogey on 17th.
The birdies on 14th and 16th were small in compensation in comparison. Dustin Johnson of the United States remained in the driver's seat despite carding two double-bogeys to sign for a third round six-under-par 66.
The American Ryder Cup star compiled a three-day total of 18-under-par 198 to take a three-shot lead over defending champion Ian Poulter of England who surged into contention with a 63.
Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell trailed Poulter by a single shot after a spectacular 64 saw him take third place. It was an enthralling battle for supremacy at the top with Johnson and Poulter going head-to-head at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
Poulter, looking to become only the second player after World Number One Tiger Woods to successfully defend a World Golf Championships title, had charged up the leaderboard with five birdies in a row from the third and another on the ninth hole.
Australia's Scott Hend showing the form that has won him three titles on the Asian Tour this season he fired a flawless six-under-par 66 to take a share of 15th place. Hend, ranked second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, got off to a blistering start with three birdies in four holes starting from the par-two fifth.
Having reached the turn in 33, the Australian parred the next four holes before picking up further gains on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes.
2007 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Liang Wen-chong of China was the highest-ranked Chinese after he returned with a 72 to take a share of 22nd place on 211.
Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee continued his resurgence at the event by carding a third round four-under-par 68 to take a share of 28th place at the Sheshan International Golf Club on Saturday. Thongchai was staring at the possibility of a poor finish after he struggled with an opening 76 but has followed up that with 68-68.
With 14 shots separating him and third round American leader Dustin Johnson, the 13-time Asian Tour winner is realistic about his chances at the year’s final World Golf Championship.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, meanwhile put in a better performance with a 68 after squandering all hopes of a grandstand finish with a second round 78.