India’s Shiv Chawrasia has long-sought Indian Open title, and Olympics, in his grasp

Shiv Chawrasia, whose first of four second-place finishes in the Indian Open happened in 1999, led by two strokes at the conclusion of Saturday's third round in Delhi.

India’s Shiv Chawrasia grabbed the top spot at the European Tour’s Indian Open Saturday after he carded a 4-under 68 in the third round, holding a two-shot lead ahead of the final day.

Chawrasia, a three-time Asian Tour winner, surged past overnight leader Terry Pilkadaris of Australia, recording four birdies to lead on 14-under 202 at the challenging Delhi Golf Club course.

A second-place finisher in four previous Indian Opens, Chawrasia hopes to lift the trophy on Sunday to inch closer to his Olympic dream.

“Honestly, the Hero Indian Open is a very important tournament for me and for sure I want to win it because I have finished second over here four times,” the 37-year-old said.

“If I win this one, then 100 per cent sure I am going to play in the Olympics,” he said.

Chawrasia was defeated by Indian defending champion and reigning Asian Tour No 1 Anirban Lahiri in a play-off last year. He also finished second in 1999, 2006 and 2013.

Chawrasia toppled Pilkadaris from the top spot Saturday after the 42-year-old Australian ended the day 1-over 73, placing him two shots off the pace.

Pilkadaris, without a win since 2005, struggled after he suffered two bogeys on his first three holes and managed only two birdies during round three.

India’s Lahiri and Rashid Khan, who won his first Asian Tour title at the Delhi course, are the closest challengers, with both 10-under going into the final day of the tournament.

Lahiri rose rapidly Saturday, finishing the day 5-under 67 with four birdies on the front-nine with no bogeys.

The event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour for the second straight year, carries an enhanced prize purse of $1.66 million (Dh6.1m).

Scores after third round:

14-under: 202 – Shiv Chawrasia (India) 67-67-68

12-under: 204 – Terry Pilkadaris (Australia) 67-64-73

10-under: 206 – Anirban Lahiri (India) 68-71-67, Rashid Khan (India) 69-68-69

9-under: 207 – Rahil Gangjee (India) 69-72-66, Wang Jeung-hun (South Korea) 67-74-66, Sebastien Gros (France) 69-70-68, Adilson Da Silva (Brazil) 72-66-69

8-under: 208 – Arjun Atwal (India) 70-71-67, N Thangaraja (Sri Lanka) 69-71-68, Julien Quesne (France) 70-68-70, Alejandro Canizares (Spain) 68-69-71, Jorge Campillo (Spain) 66-71-71

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