Greater Noida: Gaganjeet Bhullar was in the hunt for a top-five finish at the Avantha Masters, where South African debutant Thomas Aiken became the sole leader with a stunning card of 10-under 62 in the third and penultimate round of the $2.3 million golf event, here.
Bhullar’s 5-under 67 was the best performance by an Indian on Saturday and his five birdies — two on the front and three on the back-nine — fetched him a share of the eighth position with a three-day total of 12-under 204.
“It was much better than the previous two days. I have been hitting the ball consistently well, and even finding a lot of greens… It was 17 yesterday and again 17 today. I missed only one green in regulation today. But the putts have not fallen… Overall, I am looking to have a good final day,” Bhullar said of his game so far.
Also in contention for a good finish is Jeev Milkha Singh. He shot three-under 69, which included six birdies and three bogeys, to card an overall total of 10-under 206. He is placed at tied 17th.
However, it was Aiken who turned the spotlight on him self on the third day of the event.
Aiken could not have asked for better results on his maiden trip to India as he signed the best card of the day to take a three-stroke lead. He produced his second bogey-free card of the week.
With a three-day total of 15-under 198, he has a good chance of becoming the second successive South African, after Jbe Kruger, to lift the trophy.
Starting the day four shots off the lead, Aiken just zoomed up the leaderboard with a six-under front-nine which included four birdies and a stunning eagle on the par-five second.
He was tied for the top spot with Kiradech Aphibarnat (66) when the Thai eagled the 12th hole, but broke away from the pack after picking four shots in a fantastic back-nine.