Randhawa, Chowrasia share lead at Thailand Open

March 7th, 2009 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Phuket, March 7 (IANS) Jyoti Randhawa charged into the joint lead with fellow Indian golfer S.S.P. Chowrasia and Welshman Rhys Davies as the Singha Thailand Open was heading for a nailbiting finish at the end of third round here Saturday.
Randhawa fired a sizzling eight under-par 62 to move to 12-under 198 at the par-70 Laguna Phuket Golf Club. Randhawa, the 2002 Asian Tour No.1 was in irrepressible form sinking an eagle, seven birdies and one bogey to tie Chowrasia and Davies at 12-under-par 198 after starting the day eight shots back.

Overnight leader Chowrasia battled to a 70 in the $500,000 event while Davies, chasing a maiden victory, missed a five-foot birdie chance for the outright lead at the 18th hole for a 69.

Among other Indians, 20-year-old Gaganjeet Bhullar, starting the day at tied third, struggled with a 71, but was still tied sixth at nine-under 201, three behind the leaders. Shiv Kapur made a smart move upwards with a 68 and is now five-under 205 in 25th place, alongside a group that included another young Indian talent, Himmat Rai (68).

Anirban Lahiri (72) was tied 44th at three-under 207, while Amandeep Johl (72) was two-under 208 in tied 52nd place. Digvijay Singh, one of the leaders on the first day, continued his slide and his third round 76 saw him drop to tied 62rd.

The 36-year-old Randhawa, who finished second at the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open last week, putted like a magician. “It was great putting today. I holed everything,” said Randhawa, who is chasing an eighth Asian Tour title.

His eagle came courtesy of a radar-guided two iron approach from 246 yards which landed four feet of the flag. “That was the only fairway that I hit all day and I made eagle. I need to hit more fairways to hit more eagles but I’m not complaining,” he said.

Randhawa has enjoyed his time on the holiday isle of Phuket and reckons it has paid off. “I’m enjoying the sun, sand and going scuba diving. I’m going to keep this relaxed attitude forever. Every time you get too hyper and try too much, it goes the other way. Maybe I just found something that I need to do week in, week out. Sometimes I get too uptight. Maybe this works,” he said.

Winner of the Indian Masters last year, Chowrasia admitted it was a struggle. “After the second round 62, things were not as good. I missed more than a few small putts. But the crucial thing was I stayed in there and survived the round with a disaster.”

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