Melbourne: Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri fired a two-over 73 but stayed in the top half of the elite field of 60 at tied 27th after the third round of the USD eight million ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf on Saturday.
However, his teammate, Gaganjeet Bhullar continued to struggle and carded a 76 after rounds of 82 and 77 on first two days. He is 22-over and lying 60th and last.
In team standings, too, India were bottom of the heap at 26th. Jason Day of Australia carded a brilliant 66 to go into lead at nine-under 204 and he is one ahead of Danish star Thomas Bjorn (71).
American Matt Kuchar, runner-up at the Australian Masters here last weekend, moved into contention with a solid 68.
Day and countryman Adam Scott, who is tied eighth, hold the lead in the team category with a combined score of 415, one ahead of Kuchar and Kevin Streelman of the United States. Japan`s Ryo Ishikawa and Hideto Tanihara are third on 422.
Lahiri, 11 shots behind the leader Day, said, "It`s hard work around golf courses like this. I made one big mistake, double bogey on four and apart from that, I played flawless golf."
"There was a new pin on 13. Paid the penalty for not knowing where to miss it and faced an impossible putt. That could easily happen on a course like this. It`s been a fascinating 14 or 15 days in Australia so far."
The Asian challenge was led by rising Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who remained on the fringes of contention after a frustrating one-under 70. Kiradech is seven shots behind Day.
The 24-year-old Kiradech, who is currently leading the Asian Tour`s Order of Merit, rued a cold putter as he took 34 strokes on the tricky putting surfaces at Royal Melbourne Golf Club for a three-day total of two-under-par 211 in tied eighth place in the individual category.
Like Kiradech, Korea`s K.J. Choi was stumped by the treacherous greens at Royal Melbourne as he lipped out five putts en route to a 71, good for tied 12th position.
Kiradech was disappointed he did not end the day closer to the new leader. The winds were still blowing which made it difficult to control the ball.