Karlsson never looked back on his four-shot overnight advantage, with four birdies on the front nine helping him stay out in front against a star-studded field.
The 38-year-old’s only bogey — his first of the tournament — came at the 9th hole, but it was a blip in an otherwise relentless display of golf that leaves him on 16 under par going into the final round here.
“I hit a pretty good second putt but it missed, so that was three putts and a bogey. It had to happen sometime,” said Karlsson, who again relied on accuracy rather than power to post a good score.
The 38-year-old has only played the Hong Kong Open twice and missed the cut on his last visit in 2005 when his power game landed him in trouble.
“I played the course the wrong way and tried to make too many birdies and shot myself in the foot,” he said, admitting that he was in a great position entering the final round Sunday.
“It’s up to me to pull it off,” he said. “If I start looking at leaderboards I would totally lose focus. You can only play your own game.”
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez moved into second place as he also shot five birdies in a 66 on Saturday to sit at 12 under par.
South Korea’s K.J Choi is one further back after shooting a 65 which included six birdies. He was joined by India’s Shiv Kapur and Australia’s Marcus Fraser, who both shot 65, and Australia’s Marcus Fraser, who scored 64.
Mike Weir, the 2003 US Masters Champion, stayed in contention with a 67 to lie 10 under par.
China’s top player and Asian Tour money leader Liang Wen-chong strengthened his hopes of taking the Order of Merit title as a solid round of 68 left him at eight under par for the tournament but a long way off Karlsson’s lead.
The event is being played over the par 70 course at Hong Kong Golf Club.