Indian Pro Khan closes in on victory

Kathmandu, June 6:

Shamim Khan made his first mistake after 37 holes.

The calm and composed youngster from Delhi compiled a round that was mixed with aggression and caution and the later trait helped him to card 2-under 70 in the third round of the Surya Nepal Masters 2008 at the Le Meridien Gokarna Forest Golf Resort and Spa today. With a total of 20-under 196, Khan goes into the final round armed with a lead of eight shots.

Vijay Kumar also submitted the card of 2-under 70 to move into the second place at 204 pushing Gurbaaz Mann down to the third spot at 207 after he shot 74 in the penultimate round. Sujjan Singh was fourth at 208 while Sri Lankan Anura Rohana and Harinder Gupta were tied for fifth place at 210. Vinod Kumar was seventh at 211 and Gurki Shergill was eighth at 214.

Deepak Neupane brought cheers to the local fans after shooting the lowest score of the day — a bogey-free card of eight-under 64. His birdies came on the fourth, sixth, seventh, ninth, 12th, 14th, 15th and 18th as he catapulted to tied-ninth position along with his compatriot Shiva Ram Shrestha at level par 216. Defending champion Deepak Thapa Magar was lying 32nd after a dismal round of seven-over on the third day.

For the first two rounds it seemed that Khan was playing on a different golf course while the others were playing at the Gokarna. Khan did lose his Midas touch for a while on his front nine when he made a bogey on the par-4 second. But made amends on the very next hole with a neat birdie. However, Shamim got stuck at the foot of a tree on the fourth and was forced to drop a shot. However, he not only recovered but went on to strengthen his position with four consecutive birdies beginning from the sixth to take the turn at 3-under.

On the back nine, the diminutive pro saved one more stroke on the par-5 11th. But he hit a black patch with consecutive bogeys on the 14th and 15th while also making a bogey on the 17th. In between he birdied on the par-3 16th.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh consolidated their lead to 15 strokes in the International Amateur Team competition at the end of the third round. The pair of Shekhawat Hussain and Shahid have a tally of 436 as the Indian pair of Tarun Ghogale and Karan Vasudeva moved to the second spot at 451. Nepal A consisting of Tashi Ghale and Rupak Acharya were third at 453.