Greensboro: Arjun Atwal is on the verge of becoming the first player from India to win on the PGA Tour after racing three shots clear of the field in the Greensboro Classic third round Saturday.
The 37-year-old, a friend and regular practice partner of world number one Tiger Woods, squeezed six birdies into an inspired nine-hole run midway through the round as he fired a five-under 65 for a 17-under tally of 193.
“I’m hitting it well and if I play well tomorrow I don’t see why I can’t win,” he told reporters at the Sedgefield course.
Former US Open champion Lucas Glover (67) shared second spot on 196 with fellow Americans Scott McCarron (63) and Scott Piercy (64).
Brandt Snedeker, who tied for the halfway lead with Atwal, carded a 69 to join former British Open champion Justin Leonard, David Toms, Garrett Willis, Will MacKenzie and John Rollins on 197.
Atwal has received a couple of encouraging text messages from the absent Woods this week as he bids to add to his three wins on the European Tour.
“I’ve won on almost every other tour I’ve played on and I don’t see why it’s going to be different trying to win a tournament here,” said the world number 450. “I’m playing well.
“I think I missed a couple of fairways and a couple of greens today. Besides that my ball striking was pretty good.”
Atwal has recorded only one top-10 finish this year -- tied seventh at the Byron Nelson Championship in Texas in May -- while trying to play his way back to form after injuring his shoulders last year.