Bhullar slips to T-39 in Japan, as Ikeda takes lead

Ajeetesh Sandhu (74) and Rahil Gangjee (73), the other Indians in action, also had a disappointing day with them occupying T-46 and T-51st respectively.

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar in action at the Sarawak Championship golf tournament.   -  File photo/AFP

It was one of the rare off-days for Gaganjeet Bhullar as he crashed to four-over 75 and dropped to T-39 after the third round of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Saturday.

Bhullar, who was T-9 after 36 holes, had three bogeys, a double and just one birdie on a day when things just did not go his way.

Meanwhile, Ajeetesh Sandhu (74) and Rahil Gangjee (73) also had a disappointing day as they occupy T-46 and T-51st respectively.

Japanese star Yuta Ikeda put himself in contention for a 20th career victory after shooting a third round five-under-par 66 on Saturday.

Ikeda, the world number 98th, has won every year since 2009 and is now in position to secure his first title in 2018 after totalling 12-under-par 201 at the Musashi Country Club, Sasai Course.

He will have to fend off the challenge from Korean rising star Yikeun Chang, who eagled the 17th hole from 12 feet to trail by a single shot at the USD 1.35 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO).

Overnight leader Hiroshi Iwata slipped to third place despite recording a hole-in-one on the par-three ninth hole. He returned with a 71 to tie with Tour rookie Kurt Kitayama (68) on matching 205s, four shots back of the leader.

Ranked 42nd on the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings, the 32-year-old Ikeda opened with a birdie before surging ahead with four straight birdies from the 12th hole.

Ikeda, who was unbeaten at the EurAsia Cup earlier this year, took full advantage of his sharp approach shots, missing only one green-in-regulation.