New Delhi, March 24: Siddikur of Bangladesh continued his solid run in the SAIL Open after shooting a third round five-under-par 67 on Thursday.
The man from Dhaka opened up a two-stroke lead going into the final round with a three-day total of 14-under-par 202 at the challenging Delhi Golf Club.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand closed with a 69 after a bogey on the last hole. He shared second with India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu, who posted a 68 for a 204 total in the US$300,000 event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGTI.
Manav Jaini of India made the biggest move when he returned with a 64 to tie with Japanese Akinori Tani on 205 in tied fourth place.
Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour, birdied the fifth hole before sinking an eagle three on the eighth hole from 12 feet. He went on to mix his card with four more birdies against two bogeys to stay in contention for a second Asian Tour win.
“It was a great day and I’m happy with how I finished. I’ve been hitting it really good this week and I need to maintain that on the last day if I want to win my second Asian Tour title,” said the 25-year-old.
Since winning in the Brunei Open last season, Siddikur has been in fine form where he finished second at the 2010 Mercuries Taiwan Masters and placed fifth at the Hero Honda Indian Open, also held at the Delhi Golf Club last year.
“I’m not surprised by my consistent play. I’ve been practising a lot and it is paying off,” said Siddikur who on the Asian Development Tour on home soil earlier this year.
Kiradech was tied for the lead after 17 holes but dropped a costly bogey on the last hole after hitting a wayward drive. The rising star from Thailand still believes he has a chance of winning his maiden Asian Tour title despite being two shots off the lead.
“Apart from a few bad holes, I felt I played good golf. I sank a lot of putts. I still have a chance of winning if I can improve on my iron play,” said Kiradech, who had a chance of winning his first Asian Tour title on four occasions last year.
Little known Sandhu is hoping to make amends this week after missing the halfway cut at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand earlier this year. The 22-year-old enjoyed an illustrious career as an amateur where he trained at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in the United States from 2005 to 2007.
“My game has been solid the whole week. I played well on the first day and it has been smooth sailing from there. I’ve been solid from tee to green and my putting has been good because the greens are in excellent conditions. You are only going to miss a putt if you miss read the greens,” said Sandhu.
He was among seven Indian golfers who placed in the top-10 after the third round of the SAIL Open with rising stars Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and local hero Jyoti Randhawa, a former Asian Tour number one.
Teen sensation Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines battled to a 71 to lie in tied 15th place on a 212 total. The 16-year-old is playing in his first Asian Tour event after turning professional last week.
Leading third round scores
202 - Siddikur (BAN) 68-67-67
204 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 68-67-69, Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 69-67-68
205 - Akinori Tani (JPN) 68-67-70, Manav Jaini (IND) 68-73-64
208 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 67-69-72, Namchok Tantipokhakul (THA) 72-69-67
209 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 66-71-72
210 - Shamim Khan (IND) 72-67-71, Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 70-72-68, Digvijay Singh (IND) 72-70-68
211 - Joonas Granberg (FIN) 69-73-69, Peter Karmis (RSA) 71-71-69, Daisuke Kataoka (JPN) 73-69-69
212 - Mars Pucay (PHI) 69-71-72, Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 69-71-72, Sanjay Kumar (IND) 70-70-72, Miguel Tabuena (PHI) 69-72-71, Ben Fox (USA) 70-71-71, Berry Henson (USA) 72-69-71, Rashid Khan (IND) 73-71-68, Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 74-71-67
Photo -Asian Tour
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com