Chopra leads in US; Jeev, Kapur in top-20 in Europe (Golf round-up)

June 29th, 2008 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  


Grand Blanc (Michigan), June 29 (IANS) Daniel Chopra may have missed most of the fairways but he still played some amazing golf to give himself a two-shot lead and fair shot at his third PGA Tour title in eight months at the end of the third round in Buick Open at Warwick Hills. Chopra, who was nicknamed Rambo by some of his rivals’ caddies for his ability to rebound back despite missing the fairways, shot four-under 68 to be at 16-under 200 after 54 holes Saturday.

The Stockholm-born Chopra is two shots ahead of the trio of Dudley Hart (70) who had his first bogey of the tournament on the 18th, Bubba Watson (68) and Woody Austin (69), who were tied for second.

Second-round leader Bo Van Pelt (73) was another shot back along with Kenny Perry (67), the highest-ranked player in the field.

Despite the two shot lead, Chopra said any of the 10 players who are 12 under or better have a chance to win at Warwick Hills, one of the easier courses on the PGA TOUR. “It’s going to be an absolute shootout,” he predicted.

Chopra, who won the Gin-Sur Classic last year and Mercedes Championships in the first event of this year, went to the top of the leaderboard for the first time at the ninth hole Hart bogeyed for the first time in the tournament.

Chopra found just three of the 14 fairways but he played amazing golf from the roughs and recovered well enough to find 13 of 18 greens. He showed superb and innovative shot making with the irons and wedges and scrambled for par and even got birdies.

Elsewhere in Versailles in France, India’s Jeev Milkha Singh and Shiv Kapur were inside top-20 as the Open de France ALSTOM neared the end Sunday. Jeev (69) and Kapur (67) rebounded from their nightmarish third round to finish creditable tied 20th that could ultimately be a place or two higher with at least dozen players ahead of them yet to finish.

Jeev, who was in top-5 after his first round, dropped to 27th after third round during which he carded 70. On the final day, Jeev had six birdies, three each on front and back nines. He however dropped a bogey on eighth, but more hurtful was the double bogey on par-5 14th, which was followed by a bogey on 15th. A birdie on 17th was a consolation, but Jeev must be disappointed for he was in with a chance to score well and end in top-5 that may have given him a chance to qualify for the British Open.

Kapur, whose second round of eight-under 63 had set the Le Golf National Club ablaze ballooned to a five-over 76 without any birdies on the third day, but then his final round of 67 spoilt only by a final hole bogey saw him end the week at three-under 281.

In the final round, Kapur had five birdies, three on the front nine on the third, fourth and sixth and two more on back stretch on 10th and 13th, but dropped a shot on 18th.

Randhawa also rebounded from his third round nightmare of 81 with a 69 in final round, but that still saw him finish in 67th place at 10-over 294 for the week.

Meanwhile world’s 481st ranked young Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal was on his way to his maiden European Tour title as he was 14-under through 13 holes on the final day. The 25-year-old had five birdies in 13 holes, which amply made up for his double bogey ninth.

He was four shots clear of eight time European Order of Merit winner, Colin Montgomerie, who was 10-under through 13 holes.

In Chiang Rai, Thailand, Arjun Singh shot even par 72 and finished 15th and Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a two-under 70 and also came inside top-20 at exactly 20th at the Singha Thai PGA Championships on the Asian Tour Sunday.

Arjun finished at six-under 282 and Bhullar at five-under 283.

Of the other Indians, Gaurav Ghei had his worst day of the week with a 75 that saw him finish at even par 288 and in tied 44th place while Harmeet Kahlon ((71) was one-over 289 and tied 49. Amandeep Johl (77) was tied 56th at five-over 293.

Korea’s Mo Joong-kyung claimed a three-shot victory to end a long 12-year title drought on the Asian Tour. The 36-year-old Mo held off the combined challenges of Filipino Juvic Pagunsan and local hero Prayad Marksaeng with a superb final round of seven-under-par 65 to claim the first prize of US$47,550. Mo totalled 21-under-par 267.

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