Gangjee soars to tied first spot

Gangjee soars to tied first spot

Golf: Avantha Masters: Indian joined by six others at the top

Gangjee soars to tied first spot

Front-runner: India’s Rahil Gangjee tees off during the third round of the Avantha Masters on Saturday. AFP

The tournament slogan “The battle lines are drawn” could not be better as seven players tied for first position at 11-under 205 at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

With 32 players within five strokes of the lead, the final round is certainly shaping up to be a battle royale, with Rahil Gangjee (69) set to carry the hopes of a nation on his shoulders as he takes on his co-leaders Fredrik Andersson-Hed (66) of Sweden, Australian Darren Beck (70), the English duo of Richard Bland (66) and Barry Lane (71), Chan Yin-shin (72) of Taipei and Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka (70).

Only five Indians made the cut from the 25 pros and one amateur who began the week. Behind Gangjee, who was tied for the lead, was Jyoti Randhawa in tied 29th, Arjun Atwal was tied 37th, while Digvijay was tied 54th and Ashok Kumar was 63rd.

Gangjee will draw on the will of the home crowd as well as his Volkswagen Masters success of six years ago on the Asian Tour as he goes into the final round looking to follow the example of SSP Chowrasia, who won the Indian Masters on home soil two years ago.

“I’m excited that I’m in the lead but I’m just going to do what I’ve been doing the last three days by playing one shot at a time and enjoying it,” said Gangjee.  “The pressure will always be there but I’ve been in this position before and I’ve handled it well.”

Lane can become the oldest winner in European Tour if he can add to his four career successes.

The Englishman is loving every minute of being back in contention and will have a great chance to win if he can get his putting stroke working.

“I have a great chance,” smiled Lane before heading to the putting green to practice under strict instruction from his wife.

“I just have to hole a few more putts and I have as good a chance as anyone because it is a very packed leaderboard.”

“I have been in these situations before so it will help me in that sense but it has been a long time since my last win.”

Bland is eyeing a maiden European Tour victory and feels ready to make the breakthrough.

Leading third round scores:
205: Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) (68, 71, 66), Darren Beck (Aus) (70, 65, 70), Richard Bland (Bri) (68, 71, 66), Chan Yih-Shin (Tai) (65, 68, 72), Rahil Gangjee (Ind) (67, 69, 69), Tetsuji Hiratsuka (Jap) (73, 62, 70), Barry Lane (Bri) (67, 67, 71); 206: Andrew Dodt (Aus) (67, 68, 71), David Drysdale (Bri) (68, 67, 71), Kwanchai Tannin (Tha) (68, 68, 70); 207: Darren Clarke (Bri) (71, 66, 70), Jeppe Huldahl (Den) (71, 70, 66), Lin Wen-Hong (Tai) (68, 70, 69), Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) (68, 71, 68), Marcel Siem (Ger) (64, 73, 70), Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) (67, 73, 67); 208: Oliver Fisher (Bri) (70, 67, 71).

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