Shiv Kapur turned in a three-under 68 to hung in right behind the leader Prom Meesawat and stay in the hunt for his third title of the season at the USD 500,000 Royal Cup here on Saturday.
At the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club, Kapur aggregated 10-under 203 to stay two shots adrift of Prom (66), who moved all alone into the lead at 12-under 201.
In the distant third place was Gaganjeet Bhullar (69) alongside Poom Saksansin (68) at six-under 207. Khalin Joshi (71) was Tied-ninth at 4-under, while Jyoti Randhawa (72) was T-38.
Kapur carded a birdie at the 18th to keep things interesting going into Sunday. The Delhi golfer, who was playing with Prom in the same group, kept within sight of the leader with pivotal birdies at the 12th in addition to the one at the last hole.
Kapur finished the third round with a total of 10-under- par 203, just two shots behind Prom.
Kapur said, “I played great today. He (Prom) didn’t make many mistakes. He left the door opened once or twice, but I didn’t capitalise on it. Every time I made a birdie, he seemed to make a birdie as well. He played a solid back nine and he seemed to pull away a bit.
“I told my caddie at the 18th tee, if I can birdie the last and close the gap to two shots, that can give me a better chance for a win. It’s a big difference between being two shots back and three shots back. The birdie on 12th was the turning point of my round today. If I missed and he made the birdie, as it would widen the gap.
“I’m not trying to get into a match play situation.
Perhaps, if it’s the last few holes tomorrow and it’s a similar situation as today then maybe, you can look at that.
“I’ve known Prom since the junior days and I’ve played with him in the last 15 to 20 years. I have a lot of respect for his game. He’s a fantastic player and he’s not going to hand me the tournament.
“I’m going to have to go out and work hard for it. With a birdie at the last hole, I have a better chance. It’ll be a fun battle if I can score some birdies on the front nine and put some pressure on him.”
Prom broke out of the main pack as he kept his mistakes to a minimum and holed six birdies. He only had one bogey the entire round at the 15th, but it could have been much worse if not for a terrific bunker shot that landed five yards from the hole.
Prom said, “I was playing my own game and Shiv (Kapur) was playing his own game. We have known each other for a long time. Shiv was playing well and didn’t make many mistakes.
Even myself, I’m playing well too. I hope that it’ll be good fun tomorrow.
“Especially this week, I’m hitting my irons pretty good.
I was able to control the distance well. As I’ve mentioned, you’ve got to stay pin high at this course. The greens are typically soft on the front nine and hard at the back nine.”
Young Thai golfer Poom Saksansin was happy about his round and rightly so. He kept pace with the front two with a steady display, highlighted by four birdies and just one bogey. He finished round three with a 68 for a share of third place with Bhullar.
Bhullar had a rather dramatic round three. He made six birdies, but it was slightly negated by two bogeys and an uncharacteristic double bogey at the par-four ninth. After a magnificent start, the Indian golfer ground out his round towards the last few holes and signed for a 69.
The Royal Cup is a no cut event and it will be the final event on the 2017 Asian Tour schedule.
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