Pattaya (Sakal Times): Shiv Kapur reaped the benefits of staying patient as he birdied three times in last five holes to close the gap between him and the leader at the end of the third day of the Royal Cup on Saturday.
Kapur, who is the defending champion, started the day six behind the leader Justin Harding (71) but finished two adrift as he carded 3-under 67. Kapur is now second and 9-under 201 to Harding’s 11-under 199.
Gaganjeet Bhullar also made a move up into the Top-10 as he registered 1-under 69 to get to 5-under 205 and T-9th place. Bhullar had one birdie and 17 pars.
Among other Indians, Viraj Madappa (69) is 2-under and T-24, while Honey Baisoya (72) and S Chikkarangappa (67) are 1-under and T-30. Himmat Rai (70) and Khalin Joshi (71) are even par through 54 holes and T-38th and Rashid Khan (72) is 4-over and T-63.
Early this morning when the second round was completed, Chiragh Kumar, Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa missed the cut.
Kapur speaking on the third round and the conditions said, “Conditions were tough with swirly winds and moving in a different direction from the past two rounds. The greens got firmer and it was tough to hold the ball on the greens and tougher to hole putts.”
On his own momentum towards the end of the round, he added, “Nothing much was happening up till hole 14 when I made a good putt to get some momentum going. Had a good chip on hole 16 to make birdie and on 17 I holed a 30-footer for birdie again. I am happy with the way I finished since all the action happened for me on the last five holes.”
In 2017, Kapur ended an 11-year and four months wait for a second Asian Tour title at the 2017 Yeangder Heritage in Chinese Taipei. He added two more victories that year including the Royal Cup in 2017. He is looking to defend his title successfully for the first time in his career.
Overnight leader Harding of South Africa battled to a one-over-par 71 to stay atop the leaderboard. The 32-year-old Harding reeled in 17 straight pars before dropping his first bogey of the week on the 54th hole, reducing his overnight lead to two after compiling a three-day total of 11-under-par 199 at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.
Harding hit 12 fairways and made 15 greens but struggled with his putter today with 34 putts in his third round.