Mumbai: Lucknow veteran Vijay Kumar fired a five under 65 for the second day running to take a two-shot lead on the third and penultimate day of the Rs 80-lakh prize money Crompton Greaves Open at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club course on Friday.
Vijay Kumar`s three-day tally in the 72-hole strokeplay competition stood at 11 under 199.
Snapping at the sole leader`s heels two strokes adrift going into the final day were Mandeo Singh Pathania and Rafick Ali Mollah, tied joint second, with the next best aggregate of nine under 201.
Vijay Kumar (69-65-65) was in irrepressible form on the front nine with birdies on the first four holes. He sank a 15 feet putt on the second to start the day on a rousing note.
Then the 42-year-old fired his approach shot from 130 yards out on the third to within a foot and a half of the hole before an excellent wedge shot earned him a birdie on the
Kumar, currently third on the Rolex rankings, bogeyed the par-three eighth after missing a chip-putt from the bunker. A birdie on the 12th was offset by a bogie two holes later before he finished spectacularly with an eagle on the par-five 18th, by sinking a 25 feet putt.
"I made some incredible recoveries after hitting a couple of wayward tee shots today. My drive on the fourth landed in the adjoining fairway but I still managed to extract a birdie on that hole," he said.
"I also hit some good approach shots with the pitching-wedge and sank a few monstrous putts. I scored well on the par 5s. The eagle putt from 25 feet on the par-five 18th was special as it gave me loads of confidence ahead of
the final round," Kumar said.
"I think a score of three under could do the job for me on the final day," he said confidently.
Pathania (67-66-68) of Greater Noida shot a score of two under 68 to be tied joint second with Kolkata`s Rafick Ali Mollah (67-63-71) who carded a one over 71.
Overnight leader Karanjit Singh Sandhu of Delhi was in fourth place at eight under 202 while Mukesh Kumar, Sujjan Singh and Harendra Gupta were in joint fifth with seven under 203. Mukesh fired a 66 in round three.
Top 10 scores: Vijay Kumar 199 (69, 65, 65); Mandeo Singh Pathania 201 (67, 66, 68); Rafick Ali Mollah 201 (67, 63, 71); Karanjit Singh Sandhu202 (63, 69, 70); Mukesh Kumar 203 (70, 67, 66); Sujjan Singh 203 (66,69, 68); Harendra P Gupta 203 (67, 67, 69); Vinod Kumar 204 (67, 69,68); Ashok Kumar 204 (66, 70, 68); Anura Rohana 205 (70, 69, 66); Pappan 208 (71, 67, 70).