Dubai Open: Kapur, Atwal share lead with two others

Indian golfers Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal staged a fine comeback on the back nine to take a share of the lead into the final round of the inaugural Dubai Open here on Saturday.

Dubai Open: Kapur, Atwal share lead with two others

Dubai: Indian golfers Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal staged a fine comeback on the back nine to take a share of the lead into the final round of the inaugural Dubai Open here on Saturday.

Kapur, starting bogey-bogey, fired a five-under back nine, while Atwal who bogeyed the second and third, fought back with five birdies over the next 15 holes to get to 10-under and be part of a four-way lead.

South Africa's Jbe Kruger (64) and Korean teenager Wang Jeung-hun (68) were also at 10-under, as no less than 10 players were within one shot of each other. Another 11 players, including Gaganjeet Bhullar (69), were within two shots. They were tied fifth.

It was Bhullar's third straight 69, while Jeev Milkha Singh (70) was tied 40th at two-under and Daniel Chopra (69) was tied 36th at three-under.

The 21 players, all within three shots of the lead, include Major winner Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland who fired a stunning 64 to end the day one shot back of the leading quartet.

Co-overnight leader Kapur, a Dubai resident, overcame two early bogeys with an inward 31 and a 69 and stayed in the joint lead on 10-under-par 206 with Atwal, who mixed six birdies against two bogeys for a 68.

Kapur, who won the European Challenge Tour's season-ending tournament here last year, is hopeful of completing his double despite his bogey-bogey start. He later missed an eagle putt on 18 for the outright lead but was happy to contend again in the metropolitan city.

"Yeah, it was a nightmare of a start. I didn't really hit any poor shots and then actually holed about a 15-footer for par on the fourth hole to sort of keep the round going," said the 32-year-old Kapur.

"But standing on the 10th tee, I just turned to my caddie and said 'I need a back nine like the front nine I did at Muirfield. Let's go out and play with that sort of attitude'.

"I'm happy with the way I fought back. There was a time where I could completely have thrown myself out of the tournament, so I'm tied for the lead, not too bad."

Atwal, Asia's number one in 2003, has not contended since becoming the first Indian to win on the PGA Tour in 2010 and reckons the hottest putter tomorrow will walk away with the crown.

"It's been a while," said the seven-time Asian Tour winner. "Just make a lot of putts. Make a lot of birdies. It's going to be fun tomorrow I think."

Atwal said, "It's been a while (going into final round in lead). So, you know, we'll see. We'll see how it goes."

Asked what is it about the Indian golfers doing so well, he replied, "Yeah, we're decent golfers I guess, that's why, as we've proven on this tour and other tours. It's going to be fun tomorrow I think."

Power-packed Kruger also shot a 64, the week's lowest, following a card that included the Dubai Open's first hole-in-one and an eagle while 19-year-old Wang, who has not missed a single cut this season, shot a 68 to put himself in contention for a maiden Asian Tour victory.

Six players lie a stroke back, including Thailand's Chapchai Nirat (67) and Pariya Junhasavasdikul (67), Japan's Daisuke Kataoka (68), India's Bhullar (69) and Scotsman Simon Yates (69).

Two-time Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who has won twice this year, fired a 65 to lie on 208 in what promises to be a fantastic finish to the 2014 Asian Tour season.

Kruger, who pulled tractor wheels up and down a hill near his farm house in South Africa to gain power, said he left some shots out on the course despite nailing a seven iron for his ace on the par three second hole.

Clarke, who won the British Open in 2011, charged up the leaderboard with six birdies and chip-in eagle on the par four 16th hole.

"I've played really well all week but made no putts and made a mess of the last hole, the ninth yesterday (for double). Hit an awful lot of good shots and holed a couple of putts today," said Clarke.

"I shot two 64s in a Pro Am event in Turkey two weeks ago, the Banco Classic, so I'm playing better again which is nice. I'm here to play. I'm not here to make up the numbers. My timing has been off a little bit because of all the weight that I've lost. So because of that, it's taken a bit of time and it's starting to come back now."

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