SPORT

Liang Wen-Chong hangs on to one-stroke lead

IN CONTENTION: Australia’s Adam Blyth carded a fine 66 in the penultimate round to finish second, one stroke adrift of the leader.

IN CONTENTION: Australia’s Adam Blyth carded a fine 66 in the penultimate round to finish second, one stroke adrift of the leader.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Rakesh Rao

Jeev, Ashok Kumar carry Indian hopes; Randhawa fades away

NEW DELHI: Seldom has the second week of October been so warm in the Capital. But it took more than two rounds for the Chinese leader Liang Wen-Chong to feel the heat.

Though the 30-year-old managed to stay atop the leaderboard for the third straight round, two Australians have moved within striking distance as a twist to the tale looked a distinct possibility after an interesting penultimate round of the one million-dollar Hero Honda Indian Open at the Delhi Golf Club course here.

Liang shot a second successive 71 for an aggregate of 14-under 202, just one better than Australia’s Adam Blyth, who in turn was a stroke ahead of compatriot Unho Park. Both Blyth and Park shot a 66 each, one less than Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing who occupied the fourth spot.

Chopra slips

Daniel Chopra, overnight in the second place, slipped to tied 18th after a 74. Defending champion Jyoti Randhawa failed to improve his chances of a respectable finish following a 73.

Liang looked shaky when he double-bogeyed the second hole but made amends by firing two birdies before the turn. On the back nine, he bogeyed the 13th but picked up a shot on the 15th. “I hope to take one step at a time. Today, I wasn’t playing safe but at the same time, you can’t really be aggressive here,” summed up Liang.

Meanwhile, the ever-optimistic duo of Jeev Milkha Singh and Ashok Kumar kept alive slim hopes of an Indian lifting the winner’s trophy on Sunday.

In spite of some ordinary putting that almost undid his brilliant iron-play, Ashok shot a 70 to be with Jeev, New Zealand’s Mark Brown and England’s Steven Tiley at nine-under 207.

Ashok who missed at least three birdie-putts from six to 10 feet and double-bogeyed the 13th, was hopeful. “You cannot say anything at the DGC. Even if one has a huge lead going into the final day, he still needs to play a good round to win,” said Ashok.

Better display

Jeev putted better than he did on Friday for a rock-solid 68.

After starting with a birdie, Jeev shot an eagle from just three feet on the eighth and picked up another shot on the ninth for a 32 on the front-nine. However, his putting let him down on the back nine where his three bogeys nullified as many birdies.

The scores (Indians unless stated):

Third round: Liang Wen-Chong (Chn) (60, 71, 71) 202; Adam Blyth (Aus) (70, 67, 66) 203; Unho Park (Aus) (67, 71, 66) 204; Lam Chih Bing (Sin) (69, 70, 67) 206; Jeev Milkha Singh (65, 74, 68), Steven Tiley (Eng) (72, 66, 69), Mark Brown (Nzl) (71, 67, 69), Ashok Kumar (70, 67, 70) 207; Darren Beck (Aus) (70, 70, 68), Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha) (72, 66, 70), Guido van der Valk (Ned) (77, 61, 70), Mars Pucay (Phi) (71, 67, 70), Lu Wen Teh (Tpe) (66, 71, 71) 208; Chapchai Nirat (Tha) (72, 71, 66), Mukesh Kumar (68, 73, 68), Artemio Murakami (Phi) (74, 67, 68), Gaurav Ghei (69, 69, 71) 209; Vinod Kumar (72, 69, 69), Himmat Rai (70, 71, 69), Chris Rodgers (Eng) (72, 66, 72), Muhammad Munir (Pak) (69, 69, 72) and Daniel Chopra (Swe) (66, 70, 74) 210.

Other Indians: Jaiveer Virk (71, 69, 71), Sanjay Kumar (66, 72, 73) 211; Mohammad Islam (72, 70, 70), Harinder Gupta (70, 68, 74) 212; Shamim Khan (73, 70, 70), Manav Jaini (71, 71, 71) 213; Chirag Kumar (72, 73, 69), Gaganjeet Bhullar (71, 71, 72) 214; Vikrant Chopra (71, 70, 74), Rafick Ali (70, 71, 74) 215; Manav Das (A) (71, 73, 72), Jyoti Randhawa (74, 69, 73), Moin Malak (A) (72, 72, 73) 217; Arjun Singh (72, 73, 73), Ali Sher (72, 70, 76) 218; Karanjit Sandhu (68, 74, 78) 220; Yusuf Ali (73, 72, 77) 222; Shankar Das (74, 71, 78) 223; H. S. Kang (A) (71, 73, 80) 224.

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