Kapur and Randhawa keep Indian hopes alive

For the better part of the day, Lam Chih Bing stayed ahead of overnight leader Wade Ormsby but surrendered the lead to the Australian towards the end of an eventful penultimate round of the $300,000 Panasonic Open golf championship here on Saturday.

Ormsby retained the lead in a dramatic manner on the final hole: he managed a birdie on the par-5 while playing partner Lam dropped a shot as lead changed hands for the last time during the roller-coaster round.

However, Ormsby’s a two-over par 74 — for an aggregate of eight-under 208 — saw his lead over Lam down to one stroke.

Lam had caught up with Ormsby after five holes and actually moved four strokes ahead following the 11th hole. But four bogeys over the last five holes saw him finish on 73.

Though S.S.P. Chowarsia slipped after a five-over, Shiv Kapur shot par round to join Thailand’s Boochu Ruangkit in joint third spot.

In conditions where par round was considered a good effort, Jyoti Randhawa reproduced his old form to fire a five-under — like Shamim Khan — and jumped to fifth spot. In all, there are eight Indians among the top 13 players.

Seesaw battle

On a day when the top four players on the leaderboard failed to break par, the battle between Ormsby and Lam had its moments. Playing in the two-ball leader-group, Ormsby and Lam started with birdies. If Ormsby followed it with four bogeys before the turn, Lam suffered a similar run on the back-nine. If Lam had a fruitful front-nine, Ormsby got his game together coming in when he signed off with a birdie after eight successive pars.

“I hit it pretty solid on my back-nine, and I’m feeling good as it was kind of surprising to see myself leading at the end. My putter was frustrating me a bit and it was, overall, a tough day,” said Orsmby.

Despite signing off with a hat-trick of bogeys, Lam remained optimistic. “I’m not going to dwell on what happened on the last few holes. I definitely had some positives that I could take out of today. I’m still in it and I look forward to tomorrow,” he said.

Kapur was lucky on the 18th hole, where his second shot struck the sponsor’s marquee and landed back in play. “It’s like the US Open conditions out there. I have never seen conditions like this at the DGC. Par seems a good score in these conditions,” he said.

Randhawa was pleased with his 67. “It is probably the best I have played in a long, long time. I managed to put into practice all that I have changed in terms of swings, etc. All that held under pressure. That’s what pleases me even more than the score,” he said.

The scores: 208: Wade Ormsby (Aus) 67, 67, 74; 209: Lam Chih Bing (Sin) 67, 69, 73 209; 211: Shiv Kapur 71, 68, 72; Boochu Ruankit (Tha) 70, 68, 73; 212: Jyoti Randhawa 73, 72, 67; 213: Manav Jaini 75, 70, 68; Digvijay Singh 71, 71, 71; 214: Anura Rohana (Sri) 71, 72, 71; Amardip Malik 71, 71, 72; 215: Shamim Khan (73, 75, 67), Mathew Stieger (Aus) (71, 74, 70), Chiragh Kumar (70, 73, 72) and S.S.P. Chowrasia (69, 69, 77).

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