NEW DELHI (AP) — Raphael Jacquelin shot a par 72 in windy conditions Saturday to take the lead after three rounds in the Indian Masters at the Delhi Golf Club.
Firing an eagle on the 14th hole helped Jacquelin overcome the snag of three bogies on his card to lead the field with a three-round aggregate 6-under-par 210. The $2.5 million tournament is jointly sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.
“It was really tricky today, a difficult but good test when playing into the wind,” said Jacquelin.
“It’s always good to be on top of the leaderboard, but I’m disappointed with the way I putted today,” he said. “I didn’t hole any except for the one on 14 to make a good eagle. The rest were really poor on the greens.”
“Hopefully, I’m keeping all of the putts for tomorrow,” said Jacquelin.
One stroke behind him were overnight leader Damien McGrane, Jose Manuel Lara and Graeme McDowell, all at 5-under-par 311 going into Sunday’s fourth and final round.
On Saturday, McGrane’s 3-over-par 75 featured five bogies, while Lara shot a 1-under-par 71 and McDowell a 1-over-par 73.
“We all had to change our game plan a lot out there because” the wind was so strong, McGrane said, adding that the greens were a little faster and drier.
McDowell said the crusty, harder greens made putting tough.
Two Indian golfers, Arjun Atwal, who often features on the PGA Tour, and S.S.P. Chowrasia, were tied at 4-under-par 212, but the spotlight remained on world No. 4 Ernie Els, who shot a 3-under-par 69 in the third round.
The 2-under-par 214 aggregate has placed Els in a six-way tie for the 10th spot. He started with a disappointing 3-over-par 75 on the opening day, when his round featured a quadruple-bogey 9.
“Swinging 75 on the first day was really disappointing,” Els said. “I made a 9 and that cost me four shots on one hole. If it wasn’t for that hole, I would’ve had a really good chance.”
“I’m swinging well and playing quite consistently, but struggling a little bit on the greens. I’m having a tough time reading the putts,” he said.