Indians slip as Kruger takes lead

South African comes up with flawless third round

 An Indian winner at the Avantha Masters seems an unlikely prospect this year after home golfers ended way off the pace following the third round of the tri-sanctioned USD 2.4 million event here on Saturday.

ON TOP: South Africa’s Jbe Kruger in action during the third round of the Avantha Masters golf tournament in New Delhi on Saturday . AFP

Anirban Lahiri was the best-placed Indian at tied 20th after carding an even-par 72 with a couple of birdies against an equal number of bogeys at the DLF Golf and Country Club here.

His three-day total stood at six-under 210, five strokes off the lead which was grabbed by South African Jbe Kruger with a flawless five-under 66 — studded with a couple of eagles and an equal number of birdies.

Shiv Kapur staged a late recovery to card a one-under 71 for a share of the 31st spot — two strokes behind Lahiri. It was a dramatic turnaround for Kapur who staggered to three-over in his first nine holes, managing just a lone birdie against a couple of bogeys and a double bogey.

But his fortunes changed for the better in the return journey and Kapur sent down five birdies and dropped just one stroke to avoid being in the bottom half of the leaderboard.

The Delhi-pro shared the spot with Vijay Kumar (71) and Shamim Khan (74) among others. The rest of the Indians in fray endured an even tougher day with defending champion SSP Chowrasia lying sixth from bottom at tied 58th.

The Kolkata pro, who is competing despite a wrist problem, went over-par for the first time this week carding a 75. That left his overall tally at two-over 218 and his title hopes in tatters. Mukesh Kumar (75), Manav Jaini (75) and Gaurav Pratap Singh (74) were also tied for the 58th position.

Just a couple of strokes ahead of them was Jeev Milkha Singh.

The Chandigarh golfer continued to find it tough to shake off his indifferent form of the past many months and turned in a disappointing 75 for a share of the 50th spot along with Vivek Bhandhari (75) among others.In the top half of the leaderboard, overnight leader Peter Whiteford of Scotland was pushed to the second spot, which he shares with German Marcel Siem (68) and Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (69). T
he trio is just a stroke adrift of Kruger. Kruger, who was overnight tied 16th, is ranked 159th in the world and would be chasing his maiden European Tour title on Sunday morning.


Third round scores: 205: Jbe Kruger (RSA, 70, 69, 66). 206: Marcel Siem (Ger, 69, 69, 68); Peter Whiteford (Gbr, 66, 68, 72); Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra, 68, 69, 69). 207: Jose Manuel Lara (Esp, 74, 69, 64); Andrea Pavan (Ita, 69, 71, 67); Paul McGinley (Ire, 70, 69, 68); Marc Warren (Gbr, 72, 67, 68); Marcus Fraser (Aus,69, 69, 69); Prom Meesawat (Tha, 72, 64, 71). 208: Estanislao Goya (Arg, 74, 70, 64); Rhys Davies (Gbr, 70, 69, 69); Alejandro Canizares (Esp, 66, 73, 69); Thorbjorn Olesen (Den, 71, 67, 70); Chapchai Nirat (Tha, 70, 67, 71). 209: Jorge Campillo (Esp, 72, 71, 66); Joost Luiten (Ned, 70, 69, 70); Gregory Havret (Fra, 68, 70, 71); Soren Hansen (Den, 70, 68, 71). 210: Liang Wenchong (Chn, 72, 72, 66); Felipe Aguilar (Chi, 73, 68, 69); Marcus Both (Aus, 70, 70, 70); Anirban Lahiri (Ind, 69, 69, 72). 211: Julien Quesne (Fra, 72, 71, 68); Mithun Perera (SL, 70, 72, 69); Ricardo Santos (Por, 73, 69, 69).

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