Chonburi (Thailand): Jyoti Randhawa fired a brilliant seven-under 65 in windy conditions for his best card of the year in the third round of the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship on Saturday.
This turned out to be his best effort on Asian Tour this year as he zoomed up the leaderboard from overnight 23rd to sixth at eight-under 208.
Other Indians -- Jeev Milkha Singh and Gaganjeet Bhullar -- battled to even par cards. Playing in the same group, they dropped from tied fifth to tied 13th at five-under 211 at the season-ending USD 1 million event at the Amata Spring Country Club.
Randhawa is 11 behind leader Lee Westwood (73) and seven behind second-placed Charl Schwartzel (66) at 15-under 201.
Westwood, 20-under after two rounds and 11 ahead after 36 holes, saw his lead reduced to just five. Michael Thompson (US) shot 69 and was 12-under 204 in third.
Randhawa, who lost his card in Europe at the end of 2010 and is only 43rd on Asian Money List, said, "It feels like I don`t want the season to end. It`s a shame really. Hopefully I can carry this form into the new season."
Meanwhile, there was a lot of drama around the top, as Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (66), despite a finishing bogey cut down Lee Westwood`s monstrous 11-shot lead to a manageable four-shot difference.
Westwood, bogeyfree for first 36 holes, four bogeys, including two on the 16th and 17th, while Schwartzel with a 32 on front nine, courtesy four birdies in a row from second, and three more on back nine was seven-under and just three adrift when he came to the 18th.
Westwood saved a testy par, but Schwartzel dropped a shot and the lead became four.
Things were tough for the other Indians, though Rahil Gangjee (73) moved up from tied 64th to 49th, Himmat Rai (80) and Digvijay Singh (82) slipped down to 70th and 74th.
Kunal Bhasin, 32nd overnight slipped to 43rd with a 75.
Randhawa found eight birdies, five of them on the back nine, against one bogey and set himself up for best finish of the year, which before this week was fifth at Panasonic Open in India.
Randhawa, who has been out of form for almost two years, said reverting back to his old swing has helped him stop the poor run.
"I changed a few things with my swing which I didn`t need to previously. I have gone back to my old swing, made a few adjustments. I need to swing the way I swung under pressure. I need to take that to the golf course," he said.
Making the tournament look more competitive than the first two days were Michael Thompson (69) at 12-under 204 and Dutchman Guido Van der Valk (66) at 10-under 206.
I was down 2-1 in the third it was really tight and it was really tough.