Bengaluru: Shiv Kapur brought himself back into spotlight with a sedate three-under 68 to become the best-placed Indian at tied ninth after the penultimate round of Hero Indian Open here today.
Shiv (67, 71, 68) fired four birdies against one bogey to take his three-day total to seven-under 206, four strokes adrift off Scotsman Richie Ramsay (66, 66, 70), who held onto his lead at 11-under 202.
Besides Shiv, there were as many five other Indians who were five shots behind Ramsay. That bunch included three-time Indian Open winner Jyoti Randhawa (67), home boys Anirban Lahiri, who had the day`s best card of 66 and amateur S Chikkrangappa (67), last year`s runner-up Chiragh Kumar (67) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (70), the man who has won two Asian Tour titles in last one month.
Kapur said, "It was nice to finish with a birdie for every shot counts. And at seven-under I could have an outside chance as I am only four back. I was once again good from tee to green, but didn`t hole many putts and that?s been the story of the week."
Anirban, who made the biggest move on the leaderboard with a 66 highlighted by two chip-ins on holes seven (25 feet) and nine (15 feet), said, "Every par I made at the back felt like a birdie because I felt like I could make anything. I think I`m still in a great spot because I have nothing to lose. I can just go out there tomorrow and shoot my lights out. I got everything to play for."
At the top, Ramsay posted a one-under 70 despite struggling with his cold putter and held a narrow one-shot lead over Asian Tour Qualifying School graduate Jaakko Makitalo of Finland.
Makitalo, playing one flight in front of Ramsay, charged into contention for a first Asian Tour win as he returned with a 68 at the approximately USD 1.25 million event.
Thai Thaworn Wiratchant (67), winner of the 2005 edition, and Panuphol Pittayarat (69) were a further shot back with Englishman James Morrison (67) at Karnataka Golf Association course, which saw good sized crowds on a day when the weather was excellent despite drizzle at times.
Ramsay, who is playing on a sponsor`s invitation, said, "I actually played nice. I found it tough to play with the wind blowing all over the place. I needed to make some putts which I didn`t. It was a case of being close but not close enough today."
"It is surprising to be leading in a tournament with the way I putted. If I can putt better, then I think there`s a better score out there," he added.
Makitalo eagled the par five 11th hole for the second successive day after hitting his hybrid to four feet from the hole. He could have shared the lead if not for a bogey on the last hole.
Panuphol`s patience was rewarded with four birdies against two bogeys and admits that his performance this week has surpassed his expectations.
The 45-year-old Thaworn, who holds the record of 14 Asian Tour titles, posted a flawless round highlighted by four birdies and is aiming to win the Hero Indian Open for the second time in his career.