He used to be a caddy on the course, but India’s Ashok Kumar made a 15-foot birdie on the last hole to take the third-round lead at the Panasonic Open India yesterday.
Kumar made a three-under 69 at the Delhi Golf Club to go one shot clear of compatriot Gaganjeet Bhullar (70). Shankar Das (71) was another shot behind, ensuring all three top spots were occupied by home players.
Overnight leader Siddikur (73), known as the “Tiger Woods of Bangladesh,” slipped back to share fourth place with one more round to go in the Asian Tour Event.
Kumarm 30, has come a long way since his days as a caddy at the Delhi Golf Club, winning 20 titles on the local circuit.
“I’m not even going to think about the title. It is too far fetched to think ahead now. I’m just going to concentrate on my own game and not the leaderboard,” he said. “In the past, I’ve been aggressive on the final day, but I’ve totally changed now and will play calmly. I will treat it like another day.”
Bhullar, a two-time Asian Tour winner, holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole.
“Mentally there is a bit of relief in my mind that I’ve won before. Winning a tournament in India on the Asian Tour is a big deal for an Indian because you are playing in front of friends and family,” he said.
Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour, returned with three bogeys against two birdies, but is still confident of making a final round title charge.
“My putting wasn’t good so I hope to get back on track. There’s a long way to go. I’m very confident for tomorrow,” he said.
Chan Shih-chang, the only player from Taiwan to make the cut, followed up on his second-round 69 with a dismal nine-over 81 capped by a double-bogey on 18. Chan finished with a three-day total of 13-over 229.
Additional reporting by Staff writer