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Avantha Masters. Awesome African Aiken Ascends.

South African Thomas Aiken fired an awesome third round -10 under par 62, to ascend to the top of the leaderboard at the Avantha Masters, on the Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort course in India.

Awesome Aiken builds commanding lead

Thomas Aiken / Getty Images

Thomas Aiken now has a three shot lead going into the final round of the Avantha Masters, in Greater Noida, Delhi, India. Thomas carded eight birdies and an eagle in his ten under par round. His closest rival is China’s Wenchong Liang, who had a third round -3 under par, 69, for his -15 under par total.

Thomas said concentration was the key;

” I concentrated very hard to play one shot at a time and it seemed to work, 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. I’ve been playing very well the last four months and just haven’t converted opportunities. 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.”

The overnight joint-leader Wenchong Liang is in second place, he missed two short putts on the day, they were inside two feet;

” The key is to stay patient, 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.”

Tied in third place, at -14 under par are David Drysdale and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, both players dropped shots late in the day, and now have some work to do to make up the deficit.

Earlier in the week, during the first round Chinnarat Phadungsil shot a 61, he has since dropped off the pace and is now down tied in 23rd place at -9 under par for the tournament.

Lets hope that Thomas will not repeat that kind of classic collapse, following a brilliant round, from this position he should comfortably go on to win this event.

Avantha Masters. Chapchai Nirat & Wen-chong Liang Lead.

At the halfway stage of the Avantha MastersChapchai Nirat and Liang Wen-chong are tied at the top of the leaderboard with a two shot lead over the field.

Liang Wen-chong   (Getty Images)

Wen-chong Liang / Getty Images

Wen-chong, from China,  last won an event in 2007, the Singapore Masters, and is keen to record his second European Tour victory. He said after his second round, which included eight birdies, to get to his tournament total of -12 under par;

 ” I managed to hole several long putts,  although I got two bogeys.  I couldn’t have asked for a better round, some of my best golf. I’ve had a good break with my family and I’m back feeling all recharged. I’ve learnt to be patient and my playing experience from all over the world has taught me well. There are two more rounds to go and hopefully, I can be atop the leaderboard like today.”

Chapchai Nirat, also at -12 under par, had seven birdies and one bogey for his second round of 66 on the Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort course. Chapchai has also not won since 2009 at the Asian Tour SAIL Open. He admitted that luck played a part in his round today;

” I played very well indeed, this is a very long course and I managed to hit the balls long the last two days. I also managed to hole several long putts as well and luck did play a part in getting me to my position today.”

The next group of players, at -10 under par are, Nirat’s compatriot Chawalit Plaphol, Scot David Drysdale, England’s Tommy Fleetwood and the Finn, Joonas Granberg.

As is usually the case, runaway overnight leader Chinnarat Phadungsil could not maintain his incredible opening round form, sadly he  took 12 shots more to complete the back nine second time around. He is now in a tie for eighth place at -9 under par.

David Drysdale likes this course, and thinks it suits him well;

”  The golf course gives you a lot of opportunities for birdies, the par fives are all in reach so it’s been a steady two days. I got through the turn today at nine under and expected to be four or five behind at that point after the lad shooting 11 under yesterday, but saw he had come back to the field so that was a pleasant surprise. In the pro-am on Wednesday I was thinking it would be somewhere in the twenties under par that would win this week, especially if the weather stays like this and the wind doesn’t get up. After someone shoots 11 under you are just trying to shoot as many birdies as you can. When I first saw the course I thought it was a bit of a bomber’s paradise, it looks wide from the tee but actually it’s not that wide and it’s quite a good design, quite narrow which suits me a little bit.”

BMW Championship at Easy Wentworth.

Drysdale dodges damp ending to lead with Lawrie

David Drysdale (Getty Images)

David Drysdale and Peter Lawrie both shot first round 66′s, for -6 under par on the first day of The BMW Championship at Wentworth. The Championship is being played on the West course, recently revamped by Ernie Els to make it easier to play, because he said some aspects of the old course were “unfair”. Since when has golf meant to be fair, if Ernie thought it was too difficult now  he should have tried to play it with old style clubs. It would appear that he has eased the difficulty a little too much, with two opening rounds of 66 and they were followed by five rounds of 67 and a further 13 rounds of 68.

David Drysdale used every trick in the book on the way to his 66, including a Barnes Wallis shot, bouncing the ball over the water on the eighteenth hole and achieved a birdie. He said of his magical shot;

 “You could hit 1,000 balls and never have it happen. I don’t know what it hit, maybe a fish. It was a massive break. I don’t think I can say what I would have thought if I had taken six or seven there.”

 Co-leader Peter Lawrie said:

“I played so well in practice that I was kind of very nervous starting out. I missed a couple coming in, but 66 can’t be sneezed at. The course is set up great for me, I’m not one of the longest hitters on Tour, but one of the straightest. You have to very patient and I’m quite a patient person. My wife wouldn’t believe that, but I am on the course!”

Luke Donald was one of the finishers tied at 68 with his -4 under par round, which included to bogies. Luke  has the chance to join Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie as the only players to make a successful defense of The European Tour’s flagship event.

Justin Rose achieved his score of -5 under par, 67, after fearing he might have to withdraw before the round.

“An hour before my tee time, I thought: ‘I can’t play’. I guess it was some sort of vertigo, I was nearly falling over and was sitting in the doctor’s chair for a while. He gave me an anti-nausea or something and did a good job getting me ready. I felt fine all the way round.”

Lee Westwood managed to get round in -2 under par, 70, despite not even playing his B game. He remarked;

 “I didn’t have anywhere near my A-game and not even my B-game really.”

Lee’s play-off defeat to Donald 12 months ago cost him the World Number One position, was delighted with the days score in the circumstances.

Two big names who missed out on the day were Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell who both had rounds of  +2 over par, 74′s, and could not have been best pleased with their efforts on the day. Rory even managed to get out of bounds, albeit by only an inch as he ran up a six on the long par five 12th hole, the last of four bogeys in five holes and a double bogey at the 16th was to follow.

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