Kolkata: Local lad Shankar Das of Kolkata fired a timely seven-under 65 to surge ahead and establish a two-shot lead in the penultimate round of the Rs 1.5 crore McLeod Russel Tour Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club on Saturday.
Das totalled 13-under 203 to edge ahead of Delhi lad Rashid Khan, who shot a 71 in the third round.
In front of a cheering home crowd, Das (68-70-65), who was overnight tied sixth, shot his best score of the week on day three as he came up with an eagle and eight birdies against three bogeys.
He began his day on a bright note with an eight-foot birdie conversion on the first but only to card bogeys on the second and third.
The 31-year-old turned the tide in his favour with an eagle on the par-5 fourth where he found the green in two shots and sank a 10-footer.
A winner of four titles, Das went on a birdie-spree on the sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th after landing it within six feet on all four occasions.
His approach from 150 yards stopped within a whisker of the hole on the eighth. The bogey on the 14th was a minor blip as Shankar produced a fine chip shot on the 15th and two 25-footers on the 16th and 18th to earn three more birdies.
"I know I'm in contention for the Rolex Player of the Year but I won't let that distract me from my primary target of winning this event," Das said.
Rashid Khan (71-63-71), who matched the course record in round two with a superb 63, had a relatively quiet day carding 71. He, however, hung on to his overnight second position at 11-under-205.
Bangalore's S Chikkarangappa also kept himself in the hunt for the Rolex Rankings title with a 72 that helped him join Lohan in tied fourth place.
Leaderboard (top 10)
1 Shankar Das 203 (-13); 2 Rashid Khan 205 (-11); 3 Shamim Khan 206 (-10); 4 Abhinav Lohan, Gaganjeet Bhullar and S Chikkarangappa 207 (-9); 7 Mithun Perera (SL) 209 (-7); 8 SSP Chowrasia, Arjun Atwal and Shubhankar Sharma 210 (-6).