Aiken storms to Avantha lead as Indians disappoint
The South African shot a 10-under 62 to open up a three-stroke lead over China's Wenchong after the third round in Greater Noida.
Greater Noida: South Africa's Thomas Aiken was the new leader at the 1.8m-euro Avantha Masters after the penultimate round here at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort on Saturday.
The 29-year-old shot a 10-under 62 to open up a three-stroke lead over China's Lian Wenchong following the dominance of Thai duo Chinnarat Phadungsil and Chapchai Nirat on day one and two respectively. Scotland's David Drysdale dropped two shots on the last hole to slip and join Kiradech Aphibarnrat at tied 3rd at 14-under.
The Indian golfers in the fray had another ordinary day at the office and very much took themselves out of title contention. Gaganjeet Singh Bhullar was the best local player at tied 8th following a 67 that took his overall total to 12-under, six shots off the pace. Jeev Milkha Singh was the next best at tied 17th after a 69 in the third round. Anirban Lahiri and Rahil Gangjee, who shared the 3rd spot after round two, were tied 23rd.
Aiken, whose biggest victory to date came in the 2011 Spain Open, let on as to what led to a great outing.
"I concentrated very hard today on just playing one shot at a time and staying in the present, and it seemed to work out well for me. I didn't get ahead of myself at all, and it just goes to show what can be achieved if your mindset and concentration are right," he said.
However, he refused to play up his title chances. "No, not at all. Especially on this course, because my 62 isn't even the lowest round of the week. All I can do is go about my business the way I did today, and hope it's good enough."
Wenchong, who turned in a 69, too was cautious despite being in the title hunt. "The key is to stay patient . Anything can happen in golf and I only need to believe that I can do it. Hopefully luck will play a part as well."
Bhullar was pleased with his round. "It was much better than previous two days. I have been hitting the ball consistently well, and even finding a lot of greens. I am looking to having a good final day and do better."
Jeev, on the other hand, didn't sound satisfied with his show. "I am getting the birdies alright, but I am also dropping too many bogeys. In three days I have dropped eight bogeys and that's just too much.
"Maybe, I am getting very aggressive on this course. But that's also what is required because the course if there for the taking. Every now and then someone is going really deep and low. I should give myself more chances because I am putting quite alright. Anyway on this course even a five shot lead won't be safe and I am going to be aggressive once again on the final day."