Indian golfing maestro Jeev Milkha Singh looked poised to return his best finish of the season on the Japanese PGA Tour after a round of four-under 67 propelled him to the tied-eighth position going into the final round of the 120-million yen Acom International.
Jeev, whose tournament tally stands at nine-under 204 has a tied-15th finish at the Crowns In Aichi earlier this year as his best finish for 2003.
According to information from the 7,046 yard, par-71, Ishioka Golf Club in Ibaraki, north of Tokyo, Masahiro Kuramoto, who became the first player in the history of the Japanese Tour to break the 60 barrier on Thursday, fired a one-under 70 to boost his tournament tally to 15-under 198. Kuramoto now leads the field by four strokes with Yusaku Miyazato placed second at 11-under 202.
Hirofumi Miyase, Prayad Marksaeng, Toru Taniguchi, Naomichi Ozaki and Masashi Ozaki were tied for the third place at ten-under 203.
Hero Honda sponsored Jeev, who teed off from the first tee, hit a purple patch right away, with birdies highlighting the first three holes of his card. Another birdie on the fifth followed by a string of pars, saw him make the turn at a healthy four-under. His return journey began with his fifth birdie of the day. However, an unfortunate dropped shot on the closing hole of his round, the par-418th, prevented him from essaying a better finish.
"I am thrilled with the way I played today. Everything was in place and I felt I couldn't make a mistake all day," said Jeev.
"I have been maintaining that my game is as good as it has ever been. Yesterday I ran out of luck with the putter but today both my putting and hitting clicked," said the Chandigarh-based golfer, who returned 30 putts for his round.
"Tomorrow is an important day but if I play the way I am playing anything is possible," concluded the 31-year-old pro.
The leader, Kuramoto, had birdies on the third, fifth and seventh on his front nine. His back-nine saw him drop shot on the 12th and 15th, for a card of 70.
LEADING SCORES (after 54 holes): 198_ Masahiro Kuramoto(59,69,70); 202_Yusaku Miyazato(69,64,69); 203_Hirofumi Miyase(66,68,69), Prayad Marksaeng(65,70,68), Toru Taniguchi(70,66,67), Naomichi Ozaki(67,69,67), Masashi Ozaki(68,67,68); 204_Jeev Milkha Singh(64,73,67), Koki Idoki(66,68,70), Steven Conran(68,65,71), Richard Lee(68,68,68), Keng Chi Lin(67,68,69).