Flawless Lahiri hits the front

Title favourite Anirban Lahiri produced a flawless performance to overtake pace-setter Rashid Khan and set up an exciting final-round duel with the Delhi youngster in the PGTI Players Championship here on Thursday.

In an impressive show, Lahiri fired a neat third-round three-under 69 to move into sole lead with a total of eight-under 208 at the Prestige Golfshire Club.

Rashid, who turned pro last year following a brilliant amateur career, shot a second successive 71 to drop to second spot a further shot behind Lahiri, while Sri Lankans Anura Rohana and Mithun Perera shared the third spot at four-under following rounds of 68 and 73 respectively.

Trailing Rashid by a shot overnight, Lahiri made his title intentions clear on the opening hole itself with a sizzling 15-footer birdie. Hitting wonderfully throughout the day, the 25-year-old seemed to be let down by his short game, missing three birdie opportunities on the front nine that would have helped him open up a healthy lead.

After parring nine consecutive holes, Lahiri picked up a shot on the par-4 11th before firing his third birdie of the round on the par-3 17th.

Rashid, meanwhile, endured another fluctuating round. After a bogey on the second hole, the Delhiite birdied the third and the seventh to stay level with Lahiri. Two bogeys and birdies each on the back nine knocked him off the perch for the first time in the event.

Leading scores (after 54 holes): 208: Anirban Lahiri (71, 68, 69); 209: Rashid Khan (67, 71, 71); 212: Anura Rohana (71, 73, 68); 214: Mithun Perera (73, 68, 73); 215: Vijay Kumar (75, 72, 68), Ajeetesh Sandhu (72, 73, 70).

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