Jakarta, April 26 IANS | 7 months ago

India's Anirban Lahiri came up with a brilliant performance to be placed second while compatriot Rashid Khan finished third after the third round of the USD 750,000 Indonesia Masters at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club here Saturday.

Lahiri displayed the qualities that made him an EurAsia Cup hero when he fired a flawless 64 to trail Australian rookie Cameron Smith by one in second place while Rashid was equally impressive as matched Lahiri's effort with a 64 to take third.

Meanwhile, Smith will face one of his career's biggest tests after he posted a five-under-par 67 to take the lead. He compiled a three-day total of 14-under-par 202 to head into the final round in pole position in what is only his second professional event on the Asian Tour. The 20-year-old Smith finds himself atop the leaderboard for the first time after rounds of 68, 67 and 67.

Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand signed for a 65 to take fourth on 205 total.

A three-time Asian Tour winner, Lahiri could be on the verge of landing his first title outside India after he posted the day's lowest score together with Rashid.

"It was a relief for me to actually play the kind of round that I did back home at the Delhi Golf Club. I've been playing very well and it's nice to finally see it reflecting on the leaderboard," said Lahiri, who played a key role in Team Asia's epic 10-10 draw against Team Europe at the EurAsia Cup last month.

The Indian continued to impress when he got off the starting tee quickly with birdies on holes two, five, six and nine for an outward 32. He further asserted himself with three successive birdies starting from the par-four 10th and would complete a sensational round by closing with another birdie on 18.

"I'm just glad I have put myself in a good position going into the final round as I am obviously looking to break into the top-100 of the world rankings so that I can get into bigger events," said the World No.102 Lahiri.

"I'm hitting the ball good. I don't have to do anything different tomorrow. If I can just keep hitting the fairways and greens like how I did today, that would help. I am confident with how I am playing right now."

Still riding high on confidence following his breakthrough at the season opening event in India, Rashid was equally impressive as he marked his card with seven birdies, an eagle and a bogey.

"This is my third tournament on the Asian Tour and it really gives you a good boost when you've won a tournament. Everything looks easy after that win but you still have to score well to win a tournament," said Rashid.

After two rounds of matching 70s, Khan found the greens too quick for his liking and returned to the putting green for practice which eventually paid off.

"I didn't really expect to post such a good score today as I've been struggling with the fast greens here. But I managed to hole putts and got comfortable with the greens as I've been practicing on the putting green."

Leaderboard:
202 - Cameron Smith (AUS) 68-67-67.
203 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 70-69-64.
204 - Rashid Khan (IND) 70-70-64.
205 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 71-69-65.
206 - Gunn Charoenkul (THA) 70-69-67, S.S.P Chowrasia (IND) 71-66-69, Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 70-64-72.
207 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 72-68-67, Marcus Both (AUS) 69-70-68, Baek Seuk-hyun (KOR) 71-68-68, Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 68-70-69.
208 - Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 68-71-69, Chan Kim (USA) 69-69-70, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 68-68-72.

(Posted on 26-04-2014)

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