Thomas Aiken (Getty Images)
Thomas Aiken will take a three shot lead into the final round of the Avantha Masters after a brilliant 62 on day three at Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort.
The South African’s iron play was nothing short of spellbinding as he carded eight birdies and an eagle in his ten under par round, moving form four behind to three in front in the process.
“I concentrated very hard to play one shot at a time and it seemed to work,” said Aiken, after reaching 18 under par for the week. “It just shows what can happen.
“I got off to a great start - holing a pitch shot on the second for eagle always helps - and from then on I just stuck to my game plan. All in all I’m very pleased with the way I played.”
Having also birdied the first, Aiken’s slice of fortune on the second saw him three under through two holes.
Some sensational approach play allowed him to birdie the fifth, seventh, eighth, tenth and 11th without having to make a putt of more than ten feet, and after being briefly caught by Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the 29 year old responded with a two-putt birdie at the long 15th and a 12 foot gain at the next.
“I’ve been playing very well the last four months and just haven’t converted opportunities,” said the former Open de España winner, whose best finish to date this season is tied sixth at the Joburg Open.
“Fortunately this week I’ve converted a lot of the opportunities that I’ve had; the majority of them have gone in from inside ten feet and that’s what makes the difference from a scoring point of view.”
Overnight joint-leader Liang Wen-chong is Aiken’s nearest challenger after a 69 left him 15 under - the Chinese star’s efforts undone by two bogeys on the front nine after missing putts from inside two feet.
“The key is to stay patient,” said the former Singapore Masters winner. “I'm just three shots back and I'm confident that the gap can be closed.
“Anything can happen in golf and I only need to believe that I can do it. Hopefully luck will play a part as well.”
Thailand’s Aphibarnrat, who briefly held a share of the lead when he splashed in from a bunker for an eagle at the long 12th, and Scotland’s David Drysdale are tied for third on 14 under after both dropped shots late in the day.
Spain's Alvaro Quiros, making his first appearance for four months following wrist surgery in November last year, added a 69 to his two opening rounds of 70 to lie seven under par.