PGTI Players Championship: Lahiri leads by two strokes

July 1st, 2010 - 11:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Pune, July 1 (IANS) Anirban Lahiri emerged as the top title contender at the Aircel PGTI Players Championship Thursday after firing an impressive five under 67 in round three to lead by two strokes.

Lahiri’s overall score currently stands at 16 under 200. Himmat Singh Rai, who also shot a 67 in the third round, was in second place at 14 under 202.

Lahiri (65-68-67) did not get off to a great start as his birdies on the second and fifth were negated by bogeys on the third and sixth. The Bangalore-based professional, got back into his stride with a birdie on the ninth.

Lahiri came agonisingly close to making a memorable albatross on the par five 11th after his second shot (5-Wood) slipped out and left him a four feet eagle putt. Lahiri settled for an eagle on the 11th and thereafter went on to sink birdies on the 16 th and 17th to close the round as the leader for the third successive day.

“Even though I shot a 67 today, I think I need to lift my game and hit it better off the tee in the final round. This was my best round this week as far as putting is concerned. I putted really well on the back nine. But my hitting was not as good as it was in the previous two rounds,” said Lahiri, who holds the PGTI record for the best four-round total of 24 under.

He went on to add: “I scored well on the par five holes once again. I made an eagle and two birdies on the par 5s. It’s now a matter of shooting one more solid round. In other words, I’ll have to make sure that Himmat requires a very low score in order to beat me in the final round.”

Rai (66-69-67) of the DLF Golf and Country Club made four birdies on the front nine and thus enjoyed a one-stroke lead at the turn. He then slipped into second place after he dropped a bogey on the 10th and Lahiri sank an eagle on the 11th.

Rai made birdies on the 15th and 16th to close the round within two strokes of the leader Anirban Lahiri. One of the highlights of his round was a 40 feet birdie putt on the seventh.

Karanjit Singh Sandhu was in third place at nine under 207 and Shamim Khan a further stroke behind in fourth.

Amardip Sinh Malik, Digvijay Singh, Rahil Gangjee and C Muniyappa shared fifth position at five under 211 while Gaganjeet Bhullar and Mukesh Kumar were tied 12th with identical scores of two under 214.

Rajiv Datar’s three-round total of two over 218 made him the highest-placed Pune golfer at tied 23rd. Gurki Shergill, also of Pune, was in tied 30th place at four over 220. Jaideep Patwardhan, another Pune-based professional, was tied 43rd at eight over 224.

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