McLeod Russel Tour Championship: Lahiri seizes lead

PTI| Updated: Dec 28, 2013, 19:24 PM IST

Kolkata: Anirban Lahiri shot a sublime seven-under 65 to seize the lead in round three of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club here on Saturday.

The Bangalore lad`s total moved to 14-under-202, while Delhi`s Chirag Kumar also signed in a 65 to be three strokes off the lead in second position from an overnight tied seventh.

Local lad Rahil Gangjee sank an eagle from 45-feet and also made two birdies in his round of 68 that moved his score to 10-under-206 and helped him end the day in third place.

Overnight leader Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow slipped to joint fourth place after posting a 71.

Jyoti Randhawa is in seventh place at six-under-210 while Gaganjeet Bhullar and Order of
Merit leader Rashid Khan of Delhi are in tied eighth spot at five-under-211.

Defending champion SSP Chowrasia lies tied 24th at one-over-217.

Overcoming a stomach bug, Lahiri shot an incredible round of 65 that placed him three shots clear of the field.

Eyeing his maiden title here, the 26-year-old, who was overnight second, claimed his first birdie after converting a 30-footer on the second.

Lahiri then made as many as three chip-ins, two of them resulted in eagles on the fourth and 15th and the third resulted in a birdie on the 14th.

His other two birdies came on the fifth and 17th. The bogey on the 18th was the only blemish on his card.

"I was quite surprised with what I achieved on the course as I haven`t been feeling too well since last night and was therefore just trying to get through the round. I didn`t even have anything to eat today," he said of his upset stomach.

"I`m quite confident going into the final round now. Three chip-ins in a round are a rarity and so are two eagles. I`m thrilled with my effort today. I capitalised well on both the par-5s.

"I started well as I converted my longest putt in six months, a 30-footer, for birdie on the second. I just kept picking up strokes thereafter. This is my best single-round score at RCGC," an excited Lahiri added.

Chiragh too made the day memorable producing a spectacular bogey-free 65, the joint best score of the tournament.

The 2011 PGTI Order of Merit champion, Chiragh, earned five birdies on the front-nine that featured putts from 12 to 15 feet on the fifth and sixth.

He also landed it within four feet on the second and eighth. Chiragh chipped-in for birdie on the 13th and picked up another birdie on the 15th to end the day with a total score of 11-under-205.

"I had a solid start and just kept it going, unlike the second round where I couldn`t capitalise on the start. My ball-striking was great and I kept the errors out of my game.

"I`ve been playing well as I had a good outing at Jamshedpur last week where I finished in the top-5. I`ll just look to play to my potential in the final round as Anirban has the ability to shoot very low scores and is going to be a tough contender."