Shiv Kapur produced a golfing masterclass at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge as he carded a course record 65 to move four shots clear entering the final day at Kensville Golf and Country Club, outside Ahmedabad in west India.
The home favourite, a regular on The European Tour since 2006, is yet to claim a European-sanctioned title but moved into pole position for a maiden Challenge Tour victory thanks to a stunning array of inventive shots which even had his playing partners Andrew McArthur and Tim Sluiter watching in awe.
After making the perfect start with a birdie at the first, Kapur rolled in a 25 foot putt at the third to pick up another shot before a truly world class approach at the fourth, where he shaped a seven iron around a tree to two feet before converting, earned him a third birdie in the opening four holes.
Two more birdies at the front nine’s two par fives, the sixth and ninth, took the New Delhi man to the turn in five under before another at the tenth handed him a four shot lead.
The 30 year old was steady all the way in and a stunning up and down at the 14th hole for birdie, after his second shot landed close to a wall, took him to seven under before four successive pars earned him a new course record and moved him to 13 under for the tournament.
“I can’t complain with a course record,” said Kapur, twice a runner-up on The European Tour. “I got off to a good start today and that set the tone for the day. I made a few putts early in my round and I just didn’t look back after that.
“When you start with a birdie on a tough starting hole like that, it gives you positive vibes for the day. On the third I holed a fairly long putt, which I hadn’t done all week so that was a pleasant change.
“I hit loads of fairways and greens and made two really good up and downs at the 13th and 14th. At 14, I was up beside a wall and Andrew and Tim said I would do well to get within 10 feet - I put it to six inches so that definitely kept the momentum going.
“Today I needed to take the tournament by the scruff of the neck and I think I managed to do that.”
Scotsman McArthur, who held a two shot lead after the opening two rounds, was not too despondent despite carding his worst score of the week, a one under par 71 which left him in outright second place on nine under.
He knows, however, that he will need something special if he is to stand any chance of preventing a second home victory in three years at the €200,000 event.
“I actually played really well,” said the 33 year old. “I definitely didn’t putt as well as previous days and had three three putts from the fringe so that was disappointing.
“I seemed to get really tired out there but I played good golf for the most part. Shiv just played great. He had a couple of unbelievable up and downs which kept it ticking for him.
“I just need to get off to a quick start now, do the same as I did on the first day, when I got a few 30 footers and hit it a few stiff to the pin. You want to be within a couple going into the back nine to get amongst it.
“I'm not 100 per confident in my lines with the grain on the greens but I'm picking a line and going with it and if they go in they go in.
“Shiv didn’t miss a chance today and I just left too many out there but tomorrow is another day.”
England’s Philip Archer was a shot further back on eight under par and he briefly held the joint clubhouse lead thanks to a six under par 66, as he chases a fourth Challenge Tour title.