Golfer Gangjee tied third in Bangkok

February 8th, 2009 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS  

Bangkok, Feb 7 (IANS) Rahil Gangjee put himself in contention for the title with the season’s first hole in one at the Asian Tour International here Saturday. The Kolkata professional held a share of the lead for a while before finishing the day with a card of three under 68 that gave him a 54-hole total of 11-under 202 to be tied third at the $300,000 Asian Tour event.
Gangjee, winner of the Volkswagen Masters in 2004, is three shots behind leader Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan who brought home a card of 67 to be 14-under 199. Unho Park (66) was second at 13-under 200 and Gangjee shared third place with South African James Kamte (68).

Gangjee had the stunning ace on the 169-yard par three third hole, and surprised himself. “It was a horrible shot but it still went into the hole. I didn’t really see it going because I was blocked and I could only see it land. As I was walking towards the hole, I still couldn’t see the ball and to my surprise it was in the hole,” said Gangjee.

That hole-in-one lifted him up to a share of the lead after early co-leaders Toni Karjalainen of Finland and Australia’s Marcus Both had dropped a shot each on the second hole.

But the Indian slipped down to tied-third after he bogeyed the par-four eighth.

He made a quick recovery with a birdie on the ninth before starting his inward nine in 33. However, after posting another bogey on the 16th, Gangjee could only end the day in tied-third.

“I think I made my first two bogeys of the tournament today. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the way I’m scoring even though I’m not really satisfied with the way I’m hitting it,” said Gangjee.

Hiratsuka continued his title charge at the Asian Tour International by battling to a four-under-par 67 to set up what would be an exciting finale to the season-opening event on the Asian Tour.

Hiratsuka started strongly with an opening birdie, followed by three more on the fifth, sixth and eighth. He dropped two shots on the ninth and 12th, but recorded birdies on the 11th and 13th to ensure that he would finish as the third round leader after Park and Gangjee both failed to hold on to their early lead.

Midway through the day, Park took the lead with his eagle two at the 13th hole.

The 35-year-old Australian never looked likely to surrender his lead after that, especially with his birdie blitz on the 14th and 15th.

However, two costly bogeys on the 16th and 17th marred his card for what could have otherwise been a flawless display of golf for the 35-year-old Australian.

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