Home favourite SSP Chawrasia put himself in pole position for a third career victory at Delhi Golf Club with a flawless third round 68 at the Hero Indian Open.
The 37 year old, who has previously won the 2008 Indian Masters and the Panasonic Open India on the Asian Tour two years ago over the same 6,983-yard tree-lined layout, did all his scoring during an exceptional front nine.
However, it was the quality of his scrambling on the way in which caught the eye, and ensured he remained 14 under par for the week and two ahead of halfway leader Terry Pilkadaris.
Australian Pilkadaris, who began the day three clear, signed for a one over par 73 to lie second on 12 under, with defending champion Anirban Lahiri and fellow Indian Rashid Khan tied for third on ten under: the four-stroke gap between Chawrasia and Lahiri is three fewer than at the same point in this event last year, when the latter stormed to a closing 69 and pipped his compatriot in a play-off.
“Going into the final round, I will follow the same process that I have been for the last three days,” said Chawrasia.
“I have played here at the Delhi Golf Club quite few times, so I know how to play here.
“Honestly, the Hero Indian Open is a very important tournament for me and I want to win it because I have finished second over here four times.
“My next goal is to play in the Olympics, so if I manage to win here I will make the team.”
A second-round 64 had given Pilkadaris a three-shot cushion heading into the weekend, but the 42 year old missed clutch putts for par on the second and third and, despite birdies on the first and fourth, finished over par for the day after a wayward drive into trees down the ninth led to another dropped shot.
Chawrasia holed a ten footer at the first, almost chipped in from the bunker for another on the third, and then reeled off a hat-trick of gains from the sixth - a run sparked by an excellent approach to eight feet and featuring a 20 foot putt on the seventh.
Both men then parred every hole on the back nine, but while Pilkadaris was largely frustrated as he tried to reel in the leader, Chawrasia produced some remarkable acts of escapology.
He had to hole considerable par putts on the tenth and 17th, but they paled into insignificance compared to his antics on the par three 12th.
Having missed the green with a wayward tee shot, dropped shots looked inevitable when his second finished on a grassy bank some ten feet short of the green.
But a perfect chip shot caught the slope and dropped to seal an unlikely par for the two-time European Tour winner.
Lahiri had five birdies in a blemish-free 67, while Khan signed for a round of 69.
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