Seven up in Delhi as last-day drama beckons

Englishman Richard Bland was one of the biggest third-round movers as the Avantha Masters looks set for a dramatic finale with seven players ending the day tied for the lead on 11 under par.

Bland stormed up the leaderboard on the back of a sparkling 66 at DLF Golf and Country Club in Delhi.

Starting his third round six shots off the pace, the 37-year-old made a bright start with two birdies in his opening three holes but failed to make further inroads over the front nine.

However, he accelerated coming back, picking up four shots over his closing seven holes to post a six-under 66 and finish the day 11 under par.

“I have to say that it felt a bit strange that 66 because there were points when I felt that I wasn’t playing too well,” said Bland.

“It felt like my playing partners played better than I did but I was the one that made the score. They are probably at home cursing me at the moment but you have to take the luck when it comes your way.

“Sometimes you have to do it the ugly way. I’m not saying it was a really ugly day but usually 66s are a little bit prettier than that. But I managed to take advantage.”

Barry Lane maintained his bid to become the oldest winner of a European Tour event after the 49-year-old carded a one-under 71, although he missed the chance to take the outright lead going into the final day with a frustrating bogey at the last.

“I played beautifully today, really nice,” he said.

“I just couldn’t hole any putts until the 15th and then holed another good one on the 17th but apart from that I struggled on the greens again so my wife had summoned me to the putting green to try and work on it and figure it out.”

Second-round leader Chan Yih-Shin fought back from what was proving to be a mixed round with two birdies at the 12th and 15th as the Taiwan golfer rescued a level-par 72 to remain 11-under.

He was joined by Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed, who carded a 66 that contained eight birdies against just two bogeys while Indian golfer Rahil Gangjee produced a solid 69 that featured birdies at the third, seventh and 18th to also finish 11-under.

In a day of missed opportunities Tetsuji Hiratsuka, who set a course record 62 yesterday, also wasted an opportunity to head the field after a bogey at the 18th saw him sign for a 70 while the same fate befell Darren Beck after the Australian had picked up four early birdies.

Consecutive bogeys at the 11th and 12th halted David Drysdale’s momentum but the Scot remains just one stroke off the lead on 10-under after shooting a 71.

He is tied with Australian Andrew Dodt, who matched Drysdale’s 71 despite double-bogeying the fifth, and Thai golfer Kwanchai Tannin, who carded a two-under 70.

Darren Clarke seemed poised to follow up yesterday’s impressive 66 with another fine effort, looking well placed at four-under for the day through 15 holes before bogeys at the 16th and last signalled a disappointing end. His round of 70 saw him finish nine-under alongside five other players.

Oliver Fisher was still in the hunt on eight-under after two birdies in the final three holes provided an encouraging end to his round of 71.

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