Aiken retains advantage

3/17/2013 8:38:00 AM
Thomas Aiken   (Getty Images)
Thomas Aiken (Getty Images)
South Africa's Thomas Aiken remained the man to beat in the final round of the Avantha Masters - despite a hole-in-one from playing partner Liang Wen-chong.

Aiken started the day with a three shot lead thanks to a stunning 62 on Saturday and picked up two birdies in a front nine of 34.

That took the 29 year old to 20 under par, but that was only two in front of China's Liang, who had enjoyed a rollercoaster front nine of 33.

The 34 year old birdied three of his first five holes, ran up a double-bogey six on the sixth after driving into a bush and three-putting, and then bounced back in spectacular style by holing his tee shot on the par three seventh with an eight iron.

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar, who represents the Jaypee Greens venue, and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat were three shots behind Aiken on 17 under.

Aiken restored his three-shot lead with a regulation birdie on the par five 12th, where Liang continued his adventurous day with a wild drive down the right followed by a second shot into the water to the left of the fairway.

He eventually carded a bogey six to fall back to 17 under, leaving Aphibarnrat in second on 18 under after a birdie on the tenth.

Aiken's lead was cut to two shots as Bhullar birdied the 14th and 15th, but Aiken was holding his nerve and also birdied the par five 15th - he was agonisingly close to an eagle - to edge three clear again.

Liang matched Aiken's birdie on the 15th but, at four behind, looked to have too much to do over the closing stretch.