Golf: Perera extends lead to six shots in Eagleburg Open
Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka seemed to be unstoppable in round three of the PGTI Eagleburg Open as he carded a splendid eight-under-64 to build a massive six-stroke lead here Friday.
Perera's total stood at 21-under-195 after the penultimate day's action at the Eagleton Golf Resort while local favourite Anirban Lahiri was a distant second at 15-under-201 after his third round effort of four-under-68.
Perera (65-66-64), the overnight leader by two shots, had a four-shot swing in his favour early on in the round after he chipped-in for birdie on the second and Lahiri dropped a disastrous triple-bogey on the fourth.
Perera thus enjoyed a six-shot lead after the fourth. The 28-year-old, staring at his fifth professional title, went on to make six straight birdies from the eighth to the 13th and added another on the 15th to close the day with an incredible eight-under.
Perera made his second chip-in of the day on the 11th and landed it within five feet of the flag on six other occasions. The Colombo-based professional, whose bogey-free 64 was the best score of round three, is currently an unbelievable 43-under from the last seven rounds as he threatens to end Lahiri's golden run of four wins in four starts on the PGTI.
"I played my back-nine better than the front-nine today unlike the last two rounds. I continued to perform well with the wedges as I chipped-in twice. I changed my irons before last week's event in Colombo which I won.
"The change seems to be working well for me as my iron shots stopped within five feet of the pin on five occasions. Anirban has the ability to shoot very low numbers, especially at his home course, so I cannot relax despite the six-shot lead and will have to be at my best in the final round," said Perera who finished 28th on the Asian Tour in 2013.
Lahiri (68-65-68) first hit his drive out of bounds and then found the water hazard in his second attempt from the tee on the fourth. He thus conceded a triple-bogey that resulted in a huge advantage to Perera in the early stages of the round.
Lahiri then rallied with seven birdies to close the day with a creditable 68 and give himself an outside chance.
"I wasn't being able to focus on the first seven holes. I had a lot of things going on in my mind at that stage as I was thinking about my swing. I got into a better frame of mind from the eighth hole onwards as I decided to just stick to the basics and pick my targets.
"I was pleased with my six-under on the back-nine. Mithun has been my playing partner from the first round onwards and I've enjoyed watching his game. He has loads of confidence at the moment and will be tough to dislodge in the final round," said Lahiri.
Pune's Moinuddin Malak returned a 68 on day three to be placed third at 11-under-205 while the Sri Lankan duo of K. Prabagaran and N. Thangaraja were in joint fourth place at 10-under-206.
Rahil Gangjee of Kolkata made a significant move up the leaderboard from tied 21st to tied 10th with a 66 in round three.
Leading Scores after Round 3:
195 - Mithun Perera (65-66-64); 201 - Anirban Lahiri (68-65-68); 205 - Moinuddin Malak (69-68-68); 206 - K. Prabagaran (68-71-67), N. Thangaraja (68-69-69).
(Posted on 14-02-2014)
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