Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup: Gangjee slips to tied 30th

Himmat Rai, the other Indian who made the cut, carded 71 and is now one-over 214 and tied 37th on the leaderboard.

Rahil Gangjee registered one-over 71.   -  Getty Images (File Photo)

Rahil Gangjee (71) frittered away the early advantage with a mid-round collapse and slipped down the leaderboard to be tied 30th in the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup here on Saturday.

Gangjee, who recovered from a bogey start with three birdies on the trot, collapsed mid round five times between seventh and 15th holes. A birdie on 18th was some consolation, but it could have been a much better day than one over 71. Gangjee is now even par for three days and dropped to tied 30th after being tied 19 at the end of the second round.

Himmat Rai, the other Indian who made the cut, carded 71 and is now one-over 214 and tied 37th on the leaderboard.

One-shot lead

Meanwhile, Thai prodigy Phachara Khongwatmai stayed on track to win a first Asian Tour title after carding a one-under-par 69 in the penultimate round. The overnight leader, who is only 17 years old, traded three birdies against two bogeys to continue his one-shot lead with an eight-under-par 202 total at the highly-acclaimed Ibaraki Country Club’s West course.

Local prospect Ippei Koike reeled off 17 straight pars before closing with a birdie to put himself in second place on his own at the Yen 150 million (approximately USD 1.48 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.

Korea’s Younghan Song, a one-time Asian Tour winner, returned with the day’s best score of 65 to stay three shots off the pace in third alongside Japan’s Kazuhiro Yamashita, who signed for a 69. Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand and Daisuke Kataoka of Japan, who posted rounds of 71 and 69 respectively, were among those bunched in fifth place on 206.

Playing in the event on a sponsor’s invitation, Phachara impressed with a brilliantly controlled round, where he fired two birdies in his opening four holes before dropping a shot on fifth. He went on to add a birdie against a bogey on his way home.