Ajeetesh Sandhu remained consistent to shoot a two-under 70 in the penultimate round and stay in the lead for the second consecutive day in the DLF Masters at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Saturday.
Sandhu fought back after dropping two shots and scored a three-round aggregate of 10-under 206 to enjoy a six-stroke lead.
Rashid Khan, who returned the best card of the day, a four-under 68, leapt 11 slots to share the second place with Gaurav Pratap Singh. Gaurav hung on to his position despite carding a one-over round.
Sandhu, who would be ahead of the rest while going into the final round on Sunday, was not as accurate in his hitting as he was on Friday but he did enough to protect his position at the top.
“I have never been in such a position before. Six shots is a good lead and I am at a comfortable position (to win my first professional title). I am not thinking too much about tomorrow,” said Sandhu.
Luck deserted the Chandigarh golfer on the fifth and seventh holes before he recovered to gain two shots and finish the front-nine without any loss. A 15-footer birdie on the 14th followed by another, a two-putt from the edge, on 18th ensured a decent day for the 24-year-old.
Earlier, his confident approach had helped him save pars on 12th and 13th by finding the cup from around six feet.
On a day when only 13 off the 53 professionals could manage under-par scores, Rashid exhibited his fine putting skills to earn five birdies, including one which he chipped in from about 40 yards on the fifth, against the lone bogey on 12th.
Gaurav, the other golfer at the second place, was not very effective with his putting. A double bogey on the 10th played a big role in his one-over performance.
Himmat Rai, who was joint-third on the previous evening, slipped to sixth place. Harmeet Kahlon, also tied-third overnight, had a triple bogey, a double bogey and four bogeys against four birdies in an eventful round.
The scores: Ajeetesh Sandhu (70, 66, 70) 206; Rashid Khan (73, 71, 68) and Gaurav Pratap Singh (71, 68, 73) 212; Ashok Kumar (73, 71, 69) and Jyoti Randhawa (73, 69, 71) 213; Himmat Rai (69, 71, 74) 214; Manav Jaini (75, 68, 72), Abhijit Singh Chadha (71, 72, 72) and Om Prakash Chouhan (74, 70, 71) 215; Naman Dawar (72, 71, 73), Vinod Kumar (71, 75, 70), Mithun Perera (75, 70, 71), Anura Rohana (73, 68, 75), Shamim Khan (71, 74, 71), Mukesh Kumar (75, 69, 72) and Vijay Kumar (73, 74, 69) 216; Abhinav Lohan (71, 74, 72), Harmeet Kahlon (74, 66, 77), Mohd. Zamal Hossain Mollah (72, 70, 75), Kunal Bhasin (72, 70, 75), Vikrant Chopra (73, 73, 71), R. Murthy (74, 72, 71) and Mohd. Islam (74, 68, 75) 217.