India's Rashid Khan carded a second straight six-under-66 in round three of the inaugural Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship to raise hopes of ending his five-year long dry spell on the Asian Tour here on Saturday.
The two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid gained one spot from round two to be placed second at 16-under-200 at the USD 300,000 Asian Tour event being played at the Classic Golf & Country Club (CG&CC).
Rashid, who won both his Asian Tour titles in 2014, trailed the leader Rory Hie of Indonesia by one shot.
Another Indian, Abhijit Singh Chadha returned an error-free 68 but slipped one position to third place at 15-under-201.
Rookie Aadil Bedi (69) ended the penultimate round as the third Indian in the top-5. The teenager was tied fifth at 12-under-204.
Rashid (68-66-66), two off the pace at the halfway stage, produced some good iron shots to collect birdies on the seventh, ninth and 10th. Rashid conceded his first bogey of the tournament after 46 holes when he dropped a stroke on the 11th where he had trouble with club selection.
Rashid, who previously won a TATA Steel PGTI event at the CG&CC in 2013, then rallied with four birdies on the 12th, 15th, 16th and 18th. He drove the green on the par-4 12th, chipped-in on the 15th, sank a 15-footer on the 16th and finally made a terrific up and down on the 18th.
Looking to regain his Asian Tour card after losing it this year, Rashid said, "Today's round was pretty good. I had a slow start, hit the ball well and hit some good putts, but they just didn't roll in. I made a good comeback after the bogey on the 11th when I drove the green on the next hole and two-putted for birdie.
"I'm enjoying myself out on the course this week. I'm consistently hitting the fairways and finding the greens. I've also been scrambling well. You need all of those things to put up scores of 5 to 6-under. Today, I just had one bad hole, the 11th. Otherwise, I kept hitting the greens giving myself a lot of chances."
He said he would not think anything about tomorrow.
"I'll only start thinking ahead when I'm on the last nine holes."
Abhijit Singh Chadha (68-65-68), playing at his happy hunting ground, kept himself in the race for a maiden Asian Tour title with a solid 68.
The 28-year-old Abhijit, who along with Rashid was part of the Indian team that won silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, had a hot start on Saturday as he drained three birdies on his first four holes. He recovered well from the rough and then knocked in a 25-footer to extract a birdie on the fourth.
Thereafter, Chadha's putter went cold as his putts stopped rolling in and he had a few lip-outs. He only managed to add one more birdie on the 12th.
Aadil Bedi (67-68-69) moved up one spot to tied fifth after shooting a round that featured four birdies and a bogey. The 18-year-old Aadil, the best Indian finisher in tied ninth at the Asian Tour Q School earlier this year, will be another leading Indian contender come the final day.
Aman Raj (72) dropped five places to be tied eighth at 10-under-206. He was the fourth Indian in the top-10. Himmat Rai and Abhinav Lohan were both in tied 12th at nine-under-207. Viraj Madappa, Chikkarangappa and Sudhir Sharma were all in tied 15th at eight-under-208. Thus, there were nine Indians in the top-20.
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