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Ian Chadband

Herbert chases in Saudi golf but has no answer to Ancer

Lucas Herbert is set for a second top-three finish in successive weeks on his lucrative Middle East jaunt - but even the in-form Australian will have his work cut out to catch wire-to-wire leader Abraham Ancer.

Herbert, who finished third in last week's Dubai Desert Classic, is in the same spot in the $US5 million ($A7.2 million) Saudi International going into Sunday's final round of the Asian Tour's flagship event.

But the 27-year-old Victorian has got a seven-shot deficit to make up on Mexican pacesetter Ancer, who's dominated the event from the start at the Royal Greens course in King Abdullah Economic City since opening up on Thursday with a week's-best seven-under par 63.

With a $US1 million ($A1.4 million) first prize in his sights, Ancer was almost equally impressive on Saturday's moving day as he shot a flawless six-birdie 64 to move to 17 under, setting up what looks likely to be a two-horse race with American Cameron Young, who's two shots adrift after a 65.

Herbert, who had four birdies in his 67, is tied for third at 10 under with Thailand's Sadom Kaewkanjana (68) and American Matthew Wolff, who raced up the leaderboard by equalling Ancer's tournament best of 63.

After Cameron Smith had surprisingly failed to make the cut, Herbert was paired in the third round with his compatriot Marc Leishman, with the Australian pair looking well set to make a big push.

But Herbert couldn't find any birdies on his inward stretch until the par-five last while Leishman only flattered to deceive after pouring in three birdies in five holes as three straight bogeys at 15, 16 and 17 then effectively derailed his chances.

He finished on eight under after his level-par round, nine off the pace.

Shellharbour's Travis Smyth, another player who cashed in on the LIV circuit last year along with Leishman, made it three Aussies in the top-10 as he recorded five birdies in a bogey-free 65 to move to seven under.

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