Lahiri ahead by five strokes at Eagleburg Open

Bangalore, July 4 (IANS) Golfer Anirban Lahiri stamped his authority on the PGTI Eagleburg Open by taking a five-stroke lead following an impressive eight-under 64 in the third round at the Eagleton Golf Resort course here Thursday.

Lahiri followed up his blistering 62 in Round 2 with an equally impressive 64 in Round 3 to take his score to 17-under-199, well clear of Lucknow's Sanjay Kumar, who held on to second place with a 68 in Round 3 which moved his overall score to 12-under-204.

The 26-year old Lahiri (73-62-64) had a terrific start to the day as he landed his approach shots from a distance of about 100 yards to within a couple of feet on both the first and second holes to collect two birdies.

Lahiri, overnight leader by one shot, made pars on the next seven holes even as Sanjay drew level with him at the turn. Lahiri started to pull away from Sanjay thanks to a well-timed 15-feet eagle conversion from the back fringe of the green on the 10th.

Lahiri then had an outstanding run of six birdies against two bogeys on the last eight holes that helped him consolidate his lead. He landed his approach within five feet for birdie on the 11th and found the par-5 15th green in two shots to set up another birdie. He sank birdie putts from a range of 15-20 ft on the 13th, 14th and 17th holes.

"I enjoyed a good start today but Sanjay grabbed more chances on the front-nine and drew level with me on the ninth. I needed some momentum at that stage and the 15 ft eagle putt on the 10th did the trick for me. There was no looking back from thereon as I putted much better on the back-nine. Interestingly, I didn't have a single par on the back-nine. I wasn't that accurate off the tee but hit some great approach shots with the wedges," said Lahiri, looking to win his second title in two weeks.

"I am glad I finished with birdies on the last two holes as it was important to stay well ahead of Sanjay and Chikkarangappa heading into the last round. I am delighted to be playing the final round along with my good friend Chikka in the same group. We have both spent many years playing together here so it'll be great fun playing in the same group at our home course once again. However, it will be a tough contest as Chikka knows the course well."

Sanjay (69-67-68), who will celebrate his 42nd birthday during the final round Friday, made five birdies against a lone bogey in Round 3. Sanjay, a winner of four professional titles, had an amazing run of five consecutive birdies from the seventh to the 11th hole before he dropped his only bogey of the day on the 12th.

He converted birdie putts from a range of six to eight ft from the seventh to the 10th. Sanjay landed his second shot within a foot of the flag for birdie on the 11th.

Bangalore's Chikkarangappa S. (72-67-66) fired a 66 on his home course to climb from overnight tied-fourth to third place. He made an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys in the third round to take his total score to 11-under-205.

Rahil Gangjee of Kolkata was in fourth place at 10-under-206 while Gurgaon's Arshpreet Thind occupied fifth at nine-under-207.

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