Four-way tie at the top entering final round at the Dubai Open
Indian duo Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal go into the final day of the Dubai Open holding the joint lead with South Africa’s Jbe Kruger and Korean teenager Wang Jeung-hun after Saturday’s third round.
There are 21 players within three shots of the lead going into Sunday’s final round at the Els Club Dubai, including 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke, who fired a 64 to end the day one shot back of the leading quartet.
Kruger also shot a 64, which included the Dubai Open’s first hole-in-one and an eagle, while Wang, 19, who has not missed a cut this season, shot a 68 to put himself in contention for a maiden Asian Tour victory.
Co-overnight leader Kapur, a Dubai resident, overcame two early bogeys with an inward 31 and his round of 69 kept him in the joint lead on 10-under-par 206 with Atwal, who mixed six birdies against two bogeys for a 68.
Including Clarke, six players lie a stroke back. Also on 208 are Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat (67) and Pariya Junhasavasdikul (67), Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka (68), India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar (69) and Scotsman Simon Yates (69).
Two-time Asian Tour No 1 Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who has won twice this year, fired a 65 to be two off the pace at 208.
Kapur, who won the European Challenge Tour’s season-ending tournament in Dubai last year, is hopeful of completing a Dubai double despite a few setbacks yesterday, including a bogey-bogey start and a missed eagle putt on 18 that would have given him the outright lead.
“Yeah, it was a nightmare of a start. I didn’t really hit any poor shots and then actually holed about a 15-footer for par on the fourth hole to sort of keep the round going,” Kapur, 32, said.
“I’m happy with the way I fought back. There was a time where I could completely have thrown myself out of the tournament, so I’m tied for the lead, not too bad.”
Atwal, Asia’s No 1 in 2003, has not contended since becoming the first Indian to win on the PGA Tour in 2010 and reckons the hottest putter today will walk away with the Dubai Open crown.
“It’s been a while,” said the seven-time Asian Tour winner. “Just make a lot of putts. Make a lot of birdies. It’s going to be fun tomorrow I think.”
Kruger believes he left some shots out on the course despite nailing a seven iron for his ace on the par three second hole.
“I hit a seven iron but probably pitched perfect and probably trickled down,” said Kruger, who is a one-time winner in Asia.
“I three-putted 17 and I probably hit it inside of 10 feet probably five times and didn’t make one. So it could have been a lot lower. But you can’t complain with a round like that.”
Clarke, who won the British Open in 2011, charged up the leader board with six birdies and an eagle on the 16th.
“I shot two 64s in a Pro Am event in Turkey two weeks ago, the Banco Classic, so I’m playing better again which is nice,” the Northern Irishman said.
“I’m here to play. I’m not here to make up the numbers. My timing has been off a little bit because of all the weight that I’ve lost. So because of that, it’s taken a bit of time and it’s starting to come back now.”
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Published: December 20, 2014 04:00 AM