Shah Alam (Malaysia): Rashid Khan, barely eight months into his professional career, emerged as the top Indian golfer after three rounds in the USD 400,000 Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters on Friday.
Playing on sponsor`s spot, Rashid, a member of the silver medal winning Indian team as an amateur at last November`s Asian Games, shot three-under 69 to move to seven-under in tied 10th place.
Meanwhile Thailand`s rising star Panuphol Pittayarat rode on a hot putter to open up a two-shot lead after the third round.
Panuphol, 18, needed only 24 putts on a sun-baked Kota Permai Golf and Country Club en route to an impressive five-under-par 67 to get to 13-under 203.
He led by three-over 2007 Selangor Masters champion Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines (66).
"I`m playing on a sponsor`s invite. Whenever I have a chance I`ve got to try to make full use of the playing opportunities on the Asian Tour. Disappointing to bogey the two par fives today. I`ll try to play my best tomorrow," said Rashid, who after five birdies and just one bogey messed up the final hole for a second bogey to finish on 69.
"I need to do better on par fives, as I bogeyed two of them," he added.
As Rashid lay six shots adrift of the leader, Jyoti Randhawa, a winner at this same course in 2004 and former Asian Tour No. 1, played an even par 72 and at six-under 210 was tied 16th.
Gaurav Ghei (71), Sujjan Singh (74) and Himmat Rai (72) were tied 28th at four-under 212, while Anirban Lahiri (74) was tied 50th at one-under 215 and Gaganjeet Bhullar, shot 74 and was even par 216 in tied 63rd position.
Randhawa, who parred all nine holes on front nine and had one bogey on 10th and a birdie on 12th.
Randhawa felt the putter let him down.
"Putting let me down. The greens are too fast. I can`t get the speed. Sometimes it was too hard, sometimes it was too soft. It was a lack of touch. I`ve not played for a month, so you just lose your feel around the greens," he said.
"First day, I putted really good, not thinking about it. But now that I start thinking about it, I can`t putt well. I need to improve my putting. I gave myself chances out there. Missed a three footer for birdie on the last and on the second. Missed a few five footers. I think I dropped about four shots today. I need to shoot a seven or eight under tomorrow. If I can turn on my putting, I might be able to do it. I`m going to work on my putting now."
Australian Adam Groom (66) and Finland`s Joonas Granberg (70), who set a new course record 62 in the opening round, were in tied third place.
Malaysia`s S Siva Chandhran climbed up the leaderboard with a solid 67 to share fifth place, five behind the leader, with countryman Nicholas Fung, Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, Australian Kieran Pratt and Bangladeshi Siddikur.