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Indian stalwart Shiv Kapur wielded a red-hot putter en route to a sizzling nine-under-par 63 to share the third round lead with Richard Karlberg of Sweden at the SAIL Open on Thursday.
Kapur, who needed only 22 putts, posted a flawless round highlighted by an eagle and seven birdies and reeled in overnight leader Karlberg, who carded a 68 for a three-day total of 14-under-par 202 at the Delhi Golf Club.
Unheralded Shamim Khan of India shot a 69 for third place, three back, while eight-time Asian Tour winner Jyoti Randhawa is a further stroke behind following a 68 in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event, which is celebrating its third edition.
S.S.P. Chowrasia, who won his first Asian Tour title on this venue in 2008, is tied fifth with Gaganjeet Bhullar on 208 as the home stars dominated the leaderboard.
Malaysia’s Danny Chia did well to climb up to tied seventh after a 69 while Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil, equal third overnight, dropped to joint ninth after a disappointing 75.
Kapur, who grew up playing at the venerable Delhi Golf Club, brilliantly turned in a 29, thanks to five birdies in his opening six holes. The 2005 Asian Tour Rookie of the Year, who finished second in the South African Open last December, sweetened his round with an eagle on the eighth hole after his three iron approach landed 10 feet from the pin.
“I have been in decent form. Most parts of my game have been good but I haven’t had four good rounds. I had good starts but haven’t capitalized on that. Today I kept it going,” said Kapur, who is searching for his second Asian Tour victory following the 2005 Volvo Masters of Asia.
“I don’t really play 18 holes here very often. I usually come out and play about five holes on the front nine and that’s one reason why I did so well,” added the Indian, who was one shot shy of his best score on the course.
Karlberg, winner of the Swedish domestic tour Order of Merit in 2007, holed a monster 30 foot birdie putt on the first hole and needed a birdie on the last to ensure a share of the lead which he has held since the opening round.
 “I looked at the scoreboard after nine holes and saw Shiv right up there. There wasn’t pressure as I was just sticking to my game plan,” said the 23-year-old Asian Tour rookie.
“It is a great feeling to be in contention. It would me a lot to win as I would get to play more in Asia. That’s my biggest goal at the moment,” added the Swede.
Randhawa closed with a birdie on the last hole to give himself a chance at the title. “Today was probably my best round. I didn’t putt as good as I thought I should. I could have easily made three more birdies. I’m four shots off the lead but anything can happen on this course,” said the 2002 Asian Tour number one.
Chia moved up the leaderboard steadily. “I didn’t hit it good in the beginning of my round and I was struggling to save par. But in the middle of the stretch I was hitting it better and managed to roll in some birdies. It was a roller coaster performance for me,” said the Malaysian number one.
Chinnarat, who holds the distinction of being the youngest winner on the Asian Tour, was disappointed to start off with three bogeys in his opening four holes and said he will be on attack mode in the final round.
“I’m too far off the lead now so I will keep attacking. There’s no turning back after my disappointing round,” said Chinnarat.
Leading third round scores
202 - Richard Karlberg (SWE) 65-69-68, Shiv Kapur (IND) 67-72-63
205 - Shamim Khan (IND) 67-69-69
206 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 70-68-68
208 - S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND) 66-73-69, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 68-72-68
210 - Gaurav Ghei (IND) 68-67-75, Danny Chia (MAS) 70-71-69
211 - Chinnarat Phadungsil (THA) 66-70-75, Artemio Murakami (PHI) 69-71-71, Hsu Mong-Nan (TPE) 70-72-69
212 - Pappan   (IND) 71-69-72, Manav Jaini (IND) 68-73-71, Sean Shahi (USA) 69-72-71
213 - Pol Kemmarat (THA) 69-71-73, S. Siva Chandhran (MAS) 71-70-72, Mark Purser (NZL) 68-74-71, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 71-71-71, Marcus Both (AUS) 71-71-71, Harendra Gupta (IND) 71-71-71, Ben Fox (USA) 72-73-68, Shankar Das (IND) 73-72-68

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