McLeod Russel Golf: Junhasavasdikul grabs two-stroke lead

Pariya Junhasavasdikul consolidated his position at the top with another round of solid performance, a four-under 68, and regained the sole lead with a three-day aggregate of 14-under 202 in the McLeod Russel Tour Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club here on Saturday.

Pariya Junhasavasdikul and Rashid Khan during Round three of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship.   -  Special Arrangement

Pariya Junhasavasdikul consolidated his position at the top with another round of solid performance, a four-under 68, and regained the sole lead with a three-day aggregate of 14-under 202 in the McLeod Russel Tour Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club here on Saturday.

Overnight joint leader Rashid Khan slipped to second spot following his two-under showing for the day and a 12-under total. Local hero S.S.P. Chawrasia bounced back to return a 69 and place third, five strokes adrift the leader.

Enjoying each other’s company, the joint leaders began their journey well before experiencing different fortunes. Junhasavasdikul birdied the first three holes, the opening one off a 30-foot putt, and the eighth to close the front nine on a high.

He slowed down on the back nine, having a birdie on par-five 15th and a bogey on the next, but managed to maintain his slender lead.

Rashid, who did well with his irons but struggled with his putter, had contrasting halves. He gained three shots in the first half before witnessing two bogeys, on 13th and 18th, and a birdie on the second.

On the par-four final hole, the Delhi golfer recovered nicely after landing his second shot in a bunker on the left. He needed to putt it from 20 foot to save par but missed the target by a whisker and shouted out of disgust.

“I missed a lot of putts on the right side. Putting is half of the game and I am practising to rectify it,” said Rashid.

Assisted by his nephew and amateur golfer Sunit, who played the role of a caddie, Chawrasia threatened the leader with his late surge. “Sunit reads the lines better. In the process, he is learning as well,” said Chawrasia.

After gaining a shot on the first, Chawrasia could not do much except dropping a stroke each on ninth and 12th.

The 38-year-old, who had problems in controlling his strokes off the rough, got back his touch to gain a shot each in the last four, including a 15-footer on 15th that set the tone.

“When I won the event four years ago, I was five shots behind on the final day. It is possible to close the gap,” said Chawrasia.

The scores: Pariya Junhasavasdikul (66, 68, 68) 202; Rashid Khan (70, 64, 70) 204; S.S.P. Chawrasia (70, 68, 69) 207, Shubhankar Sharma (70, 68, 70) 208; Gaganjeet Bhullar (71, 68, 70) 209; Khalin Joshi (67, 72, 71) 210; Shiv Kapur (71, 70, 70) 211; Ranjit Singh (68, 70, 74) and Amardip Sinh Malik (68, 70, 74) 212; Sanjeev Kumar (70, 69, 74), Jyoti Randhawa (70, 69, 74) and Aman Raj (74, 70, 69) 213; Jeev Milkha Singh (69, 71, 74), K. Prabagaran (72, 71, 71) and Mukesh Kumar (70, 73, 71) 214.