Ahmedabad: Shiv Kapur carded a flawless seven-under 65 in the penultimate round to grab a four-shot lead over Andrew McArthur (71) of Scotland at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge here on Saturday. Kapur re-wrote the course record, which was set less than 48 hours ago by Agustin Domingo in the opening day of the tournament here.
Holding his own under rather warm conditions, Kapur moved up to 13-under 203 to stay five strokes clear of Philip Archer (66) of England. Tim Sluiter (70), who goes down on his stomach while checking his line on the green, was lying fourth at seven-under 209.
First round leader Domingo was tied fifth with three others at five-under. Mukesh Kumar (68) and Peter Uihlein, the 2010 US Amateur champion, were tied at ninth at four-under 212. Kapur, who opened the week with a bogeyfree 67 on Thursday, has dropped only two bogeys, both in second round.
"I am not sure when I last held a four-shot lead," said Kapur, whose previous start at the end of 2012 had ended a seven-year title drought at the Shubhkamna Champions Golf, an event on the domestic PGTI Tour. Kapur apart, it was a good day for the Indians, as Mukesh Kumar (68) moved into the top-10 at four-under and tied ninth, while Himmat Rai (68) was three-under and tied 11th up from overnight 43rd.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (73) dropped from overnight tied sixth to 15th, while Rahil Gangjee (74) slipped even further from sixth to 20th. Even though Kapur was 13-under, scoring has not been very easy, as only 25 players are under par after three days. And only four of the 25 are seven-under or better.
Kapur, expectedly, was quite pleased with his play. "(I) Can't complain, (with a) course record it's been so great so far, and I guess the conditions aren't getting any easier," said kapur. "Today it was quite benign actually with not much wind and I think I got off to a good start today that sort of set the tone for the whole day, made couple of putts early in my round with three birdies in my first four, and was no looking back after that," Kapur said.
Speaking about the action on the course, he added, "The first hole birdie was the best I should say because it is tough starting a hole and when you start with a birdie, obviously it gives you some positive momentum for the day. The third I holed a pretty long putt, around 20-25 ft, which I haven't done all week so nice pleasant change.
"The fourth was beautiful birdie I should say because I had my tee shot in the middle of the fairway but there was a tree right there and I had to cut a seven iron around the tree to a back left pin which is not the easiest shot and got about two feet so I think was the best shot of the day."
"The pin positions were not that easy but I think it is the lack of wind which resulted in lot of four under or five under scores. I won't say they were easy flags, couple of them I thought were quite approachable, which they could have made a bit trickier. On Sundays they will be pretty tough where a lot of strategy comes into play."
Speaking about the final day's strategy, Kapur said, "I think I want to be in charge of my own destiny and not really leave it in the hands of my competitors so I will look to just go out there and play like the way I have played the last three days.
"If somebody can shoot something crazy low like 62 or 63, good luck to them. The goal will be to extend the lead, that's the way I have approached it, not to defend the lead. I have found from past experience that if you try to defend the lead you tend to get defensive and get away from your natural gameplan. So the idea is to stay positive and stay aggressive."
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