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Gaganjeet Bhullar stayed in contention for his third title in just over six months, as he was only two shots behind overnight co-leader Thai Rattanon Wannasrichan (65) after the penultimate round of the USD 300,000 Thailand Open here today. Bhullar, who shared the lead with the Thai after 36 holes, shot four-under, but Rattanon, who had had a share of the lead since the first day, birdied his last two holes and surged ahead into outright lead. The 21-year-old Thai sank six birdies to move to 17- under-par 196 total at the scenic Thai Country Club. His countryman Panuphol Pittayarat carded a superb 64 to trail by one in second place. Bhullar is in third place on 198, while Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat marked his best efforts of the week with a 65 to be in the fourth position. Indians had a fair day as Shiv Kapur (65) with his six- under card moved up to tied-9th at 11-under 202, while Jeev Milkha Singh (70) was tied-19th at nine-under. Of the other Indians -- Shankar Das (70) and Khalin Joshi (68) -- are tied-40th at five-under at 208. Shubhankar Sharma (71) and Himmat Rai (73) are tied-62nd and tied-67th, while Chiragh Kumar (75), S Chikkarangappa (74) and Arjun Prasad (77) are further behind. Bhullar suffered a bunch of lipouts, but said, "I hit the ball really well again today. I have been giving myself a lot of birdie opportunities this week. I left about four to five birdies out there though but overall, I hit the ball really solid, missing only one fairway. "I was giving myself a lot of chances although I had three lip-outs today.
It was a hot and humid day. The wind wasn't an issue. That's why you see a lot of low scores out there. At the back of my mind, I do know that I am in contention and I have the opportunity to chase for an eighth win on the Asian Tour. "At the end of the day, if you can putt well, you should be able to bring the trophy home. My goal is to give my 100 per cent tomorrow," he added. Malaysia's Ben Leong returned with a 66 to share fifth place with Terry Pilkadaris (66) of Australia and Thailand's Pawin Ingkhapradit (68) on 200 at the storied event, which returned onto the Asian Tour schedule this week following an eight-year lapse.
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