Siddikur shines bright with five-under 67

Bangladesh’s Siddikur kept himself on course for his maiden $1.25 million Hero Indian Open title by storming into a four-stroke lead at the Delhi Golf Course (DGC) here on Saturday.

The 28-year-old rose to 17-under 199 after a flawless third-round five-under 67 to rule the leaderboard for the third successive day. Snapping at his heals is local hope SSP Chowrasia, a two-time Asian Tour winner, with a 66 and a total of 13-under 203.

India’s Rashid Khan and Filipino Angelo Que shot a 65 and 67 to share the third place at 12-under 204. Rashid’s 65 was the best card of the tournament along with Unho Park, who too touched that mark in the third round. It was a measured performance by Siddikur, who has dropped shots only twice during the 54 holes. The Bangladeshi, who considers DGC like his home course, said this was the best golf he had played in his career. “I’m putting and hitting the ball so well. Mentally, I’m strong and focussed,” said Siddikur, who hit a sublime chip from the greenside bunker on the final hole to put himself in prime position.

“I didn’t read the lines properly today or my score would have been lower. It is a big advantage for me now. If I can play like how I’ve been playing, then I think I can easily win.”

Siddikur's consistency provided him a cushion against second-placed Chowrasia, who jumped three places by closing with two birdies.

Chowrasia, who won India Masters here in 2008, played a sensational third round comprising seven birdies and a bogey in the sixth hole. The 35-year-old played with a particular flair on back nine, notching up four birdies in last five holes. However it was the young Rashid, who grew up at the DGC, impressed the most by making rapid strides from 13th place in the second round. Rashid was all aggression in the third round, firing eight birdies and a 15-foot eagle but self destructed a bit with his three bogeys on 5th, 6th and 9th holes.

Nonetheless, it was a thrilling performance by the 22-year-old, who conjured a flawless show on back nine.

“I am pretty happy with my round especially how I started. I just made six pars. I putted really good. Anything can happen at DGC. I hope I can get a good round again,” he said.

Three-time Asian Tour winner Anirban Lahiri, too, fought back by sinking nine birdies but two double bogeys undid his good work. He still has a chance going into the final round after finishing the day at fifth place with a total of 205.

However, it turned out to be a disappointing round for Rahil Gangjee, who with two bogeys and double bogeys slipped from third place to tied eighth (208).

Leading scores (after 54 holes, Indians unless mentioned): 199: Siddikur (Ban, 66, 66, 67); 203: SSP Chowrasia (69, 68, 66); 204: Rashid Khan (69, 70, 65), Angelo Que (Phi 69, 68, 67); 205: Anirban Lahiri (71, 67, 67); 206: Unho Park (Aus, 68, 73, 65), Adam Groom (Aus, 69, 67, 70); 208: Chiragh Kumar (69, 70, 69) Baek Seuk-hyun (Kor, 69, 69, 70), Rahil Gangjee (66, 69, 73); 209: Antonio Lascuna (Phi 71, 70, 68).

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