Three Indians chasing Mamat for Panasonic Open title

April 8th, 2011 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Singapore’s Mardan Mamat posted a three-under-par 69 Friday to take the third round lead with a 15-under-par 201 total at the inaugural $300,000 Panasonic Open (India) golf and promised not to let down his legion of fans.

Mardan’s title aspirations will be put to the test by the Indian brigade led by Anirban Lahiri piling on the pressure. Lahiri posted a 68 to trail the Singaporean by three shots to take second place on 204 while Manav Jaini carded a 67 to take third place after signing for a 205 total.

Eight-time Asian Tour winner Jyoti Randhawa, Himmat Rai and Mukesh Kumar are bunched at equal fourth on 207 at the newest event on the Asian Tour which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

Mardan, a two-time Asian Tour winner, is 18 holes away from ending a five-year title drought and hopes to reward his supporters with a long awaited win at the Delhi Golf Club.

Mardan’s fans have been very vocal with their support for him with encouraging messages being posted on the Asian Tour facebook page, urging Singapore’s number one golfer to fulfil his true potential by winning this week’s inaugural event.

“I know everyone back home is hoping that I play well and go on to win. I’ve been in this position so many times and I should be able to handle it on the final day,” said Mardan who enjoyed a bogey-free round with three birdies on holes four, eight and nine.

Mardan believes that the key to returning to the winner’s circle is to stay focus and concentrate on his own game.

“I think everything tomorrow will be about me and nobody else. I can’t be distracted and think what the rest of the field is doing. It got to be only me and focusing on playing one hole at a time,” said Mardan.

“I’m pretty pleased with how I’ve played the last three days. This is where I won my first Asian Tour title and hopefully I can do it again tomorrow.”

First round leader Lihiri also had another performance of his own to savour.

The 23-year-old marked his card with a birdie on the sixth hole before adding another three in his outward-nine, including a closing birdie which gave him sole possession of second place.

“I shot a four-under with 33 putts at the Delhi Golf Club which is fantastic. I could have shot a better score but I’m not looking too far into that,” said Lahiri.

“I’m happy with the way I’m hitting the ball. I concentrated and focused well today and I’m looking forward to the final round tomorrow.”

Jaini also kept up the pressure on the Mardan and Lahiri by matching his second round 67 to keep himself in contention for his first win on the Asian Tour.

Starting the day in fifth place, the 28-year-old Indian got off to a blistering start on the front-nine by mixing four birdies against a lone bogey to reach the turn in 33.

Jaini then continued to birdie hole 12 before closing with another birdie on the par-five 18th.

“Anything can happen on this golf course and I’m just trying to go out there and play my game. I had two solid rounds and if I can play like this, I should be in the hunt,” said Jaini.

“This is my home course and I’m glad that it has been kind to me for the last couple of events that I’ve played here. There’s one more day to go and if I can pull off another good round, who knows,” added the Indian.

India’s sports minister, Mr. Ajay Maken from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will be the chief guest at the prize presentation ceremony.

The top three players of the Panasonic Open (India) will be invited to play in Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open, scheduled from September 22 to 25 at Biwako Country Club in Shiga Prefecture.

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