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Resurgent Atwal leads in Panama

January 27, 2008 16:50 IST

Arjun Atwal finally showed signs of recovering from a prolonged slump with a sedate penultimate round of two-under 68 to grab the lead in the Panama Movistar Championship on the Nationwide Tour in Panama City.

The Orlando-based Indian occupies the top slot with a three-day total of six-under 204 in the USD 600,000 event but breathing down his neck from just one shot behind is Chris Smith who returned an identical round at the Panama Golf Club.

On a windy day, Atwal did well to make up for a bogey treble with five birdies and it was for the first time since 2003 on the Asian Tour that he was leading an event after 54 holes.

"I don't really know if it's good or bad that I haven't held the lead after 54 holes in a while, and I don't really care," said Atwal.

"As long as I'm in this position, I love it. I like where I'm at. Obviously I'm doing something well," he said.

Dwelling on his round, Atwal said, "It certainly didn't feel like five birdies. You just get so into it. You're trying to grind it out on every hole. I didn't hit it all that great today but I tried to get it in the hole however I could.

"This golf course is all about angles. If you do miss a fairway, you've got to miss it in the right spots. The places I missed it, I could somehow get it around the green where I could make a good up-and-down," he said.

It was a welcome return to form for the Indian, who barely managed to retain his Nationwide Tour card for this season.

Atwal is also set to tee off in the Indian Masters, the first ever European Tour event scheduled at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) next month.

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