Macau: Jeev Milkha Singh slipped one place to tied fifth but the Indian golfer along with compatriots Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shiv Kapur did well to hang on in yet another hard day in the heat and humidity of the hilly and challenging Macau Golf and Country Club.
On the third day of the USD 750,000 Macau Open, Jeev grinded it out in hot conditions to shoot a one-under 70 and move to seven-under 206, five shots behind the leader Chan Yih-Shin of Chinese Taipei.
Bhullar (68) and Kapur (69) also made a smart upward move on the leaderboard.
Despite back-to-back bogeys on 11th and 12th, Bhullar moved up from overnight 25th to tied 12th at five-under 208, while Kapur had five birdies and three bogeys to come to four-under and tied 17th place, up from 25th.
Overnight leader Chan (68) kept his nose ahead of Joonas Granberg (68) by one shot, and Rikard Karlberg (68) stayed in third spot even as Mo Joong-kyung (65) playing with a blister on his left toe, jumped up to join him in third.
Veteran Zaw Moe (67) climbed from 11th to tied fifth with Jeev, young Thai Thanykon Khrongpha (70) and Australian Adam Groom (70).
Jeev recovered well from an indifferent start as he bogeyed the third and then the eighth.
"I told myself to stay focused and hang in. I got my first birdie on ninth and on the back nine there were two more birdies. On the 18th, I almost nailed an eagle, the ball stopping a couple of rolls short," said Jeev.
"Though many of the putts were still not dropping, I am happy that I am still in touch. Five shots is a good lead but not out of reach. A good start on final day can change things."
Bhullar had a terrific finish with three birdies in a row.
"I was striking the ball very well, but like others this week putting was off-colour. Still I was two-under for front nine. Then I messed up 11th and 12th to drop to par. The rhythm seemed to be back at the close.”
"I hit it great to find three birdies in a row from 16th. On the 17th, where one needs to hit from way up on the mountain side, I found the green again. This time I got my 15-footer, while I had missed yesterday. So that closing felt real good."
Kapur`s struggles continued but still laughed and said, "All other aspects are looking fine, except that bit (putting).”
"I started with a birdie, closed with a birdie and had three other birdies. But the bogeys I gave away were small putts and some birdie putts too didn`t fall."
The 34-year-old Chan birdied the second and third holes to turn in 33.
He dropped his first shot of the day on the 12th hole but swiftly recovered with birdies on 13 and 18 for a 12-under-par 201 total.
Asian Tour rookie Granberg led the tournament for the first time with a birdie on 12th but slipped back with bogeys on 13 and 14 before bogeys on 13th and 14th saw him slip down though he stayed in touch with further birdies on 15th and 17th.