Phillip Archer and Graeme Storm remained in strong contention at the Johnnie Walker Classic today, with 69s to finish the third round 11 under – three strokes behind tournament leader Taichiro Kiyota.
A day after carding an eight-under 64 at DLF Golf and Country Club near Delhi, Archer had an up-and-down round which featured six birdies and three bogeys - while Storm defied illness to fire four birdies and one bogey.
The English pair are in a three-way tie for fourth with Australian Greg Chalmers, three behind Japan’s Kiyota and two behind India’s Jyoti Randhawa and Mark Brown, of New Zealand.
Kiyota, who has only two top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour to his name, began the day on nine under and dropped a stroke after bogeying the fifth.
But it proved to be the only mistake of the round for the unheralded 27-year-old from Osaka, who eagled the next and picked up four more birdies to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.
Randhawa carded a four-under 68 to climb into second with Brown – who matched Archer’s tournament-best 64 with an eventful round that included two eagles, seven birdies and three bogeys.
Brown is seeking a second consecutive win in India after winning the Asian Tour’s SAIL Open in nearby Noida by four strokes a week ago.
“I think last week really helped the way I’ll be feeling tomorrow and the way I approach it,” said the 33-year-old Kiwi.
“I’ve got a very good caddie here; I like the climate; it’s nice and dry. My caddie is reading the putts well, and I’m just really comfortable here.
“That win last week took pressure off being on the Asian Tour, because I now have a two-year exemption. It’s been quite a relaxing week so far, and tomorrow I have nothing to lose.”
Overnight leader Shiv Kapur, of India, remained on 10 under after a 72 which included six birdies and six bogeys – while Vijay Singh faltered to nine under after bogeys on the 16th and 17th and a three-putt for par at the final hole.
It was an even more disappointing day for India’s Gaurav Ghei, who appeared to have climbed into contention after shooting a seven-under-par 65 to move to nine under – only to be disqualified once it was revealed that he had signed for a wrong score the previous day.
The 39-year-old failed to add two penalty strokes for causing his ball to move as he was addressing it for a shot at the par-five 18th in his second round, an infringement that was reported to the European Tour’s chief referee John Paramor by a fellow referee who saw the incident on television.
“Unfortunately, nobody around the immediate area saw this movement of the ball - but clearly on reviewing the television pictures, this has happened,” Paramor explained.
“The ball has moved – albeit a very, very small distance.
“The situation is that he is penalised for the ball moving.
“That was not added into his second-round score – so therefore, he has signed for a score lower than actually taken and is disqualified from the second round.”