Kolkata, February 10, 2011: Bangalore’s Anirban Lahiri threw his hat in the ring at the Aircel PGTI Players Championship presented by Tollygunge Club after he shot a second straight score of five under 65 in round three on Thursday. Lahiri emerged as the top contender for the title as he moved three shots clear of the rest of the field with a total score of 12 under 198.
The Delhi Golf Club duo of Vinod Kumar and Rashid Khan share second place at nine under 201 while local boy Rahil Gangjee and pre-tournament favourite Jyoti Randhawa are a further stroke behind in tied fourth.
Anirban Lahiri (68-65-65), who was five strokes off the pace in tied third position after round two, played a remarkable round of 65 to snatch the lead on day three. The 23-year-old knocked down four birdies on the front nine and added two more on the 15th and 16th before dropping his only bogey of the day on the 17th. Lahiri performed exceptionally with the putter as he sank a 25 feet putt for birdie on the first and followed that up with an enormous 35 feet putt for birdie on the fourth.
Anirban, a winner of five professional titles and the 2009 Rolex Rankings champion, said, “My swing is good and I’m putting well at this stage. I’ll have to play aggressively in the final round since a three-stroke lead is not quite enough on this course. All the players in the top eight at the moment have the ability to shoot a very low number in the final round therefore I’ll have to take my chances on Friday.”
Vinod Kumar (67-67-67) shot a third consecutive 67 to climb from overnight tied sixth to tied second position. His solid 67 in round three included six birdies and three bogeys.
Rashid Khan (64-64-73), the overnight leader, fired a three over 73 to join Vinod Kumar in tied second place at nine under 201. Rashid’s third round featured four birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey.
Local lad Rahil Gangjee slipped from overnight tied second to tied fourth as a result of posting a 71 on Thursday. Indian ace Jyoti Randhawa joined Gangjee in tied fourth at eight under 202 after he submitted a card of 69 in the penultimate round.
Shamim Khan (seven under 203), Mukesh Kumar (six under 204) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (five under 205) are placed sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
SSP Chowrasia (72-71-72) of Kolkata lies tied 32nd at five over 215.