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Kapur rallies on back to stay in contention in Japan

September 22, 2012 18:58 IST

Shiv Kapur staged a tremendous fight back on the back nine, where he hit an eagle, to card a sub-par round for the third day running and stay in contention for a good finish at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open, in Hyogo on Saturday.

Kapur, lying eighth overnight, shot 69 and moved to nine-under but slipped three places down to tied 11th.

At five shots behind the leader on a crowded leader-board, Kapur can still make the charge on the final day.

Meanwhile, the other Indians had a bit of struggle as Jeev Milkha Singh (74) dropped to tied 48th, Chiragh Kumar (71) was also tied 48th and SSP Chowrasia (76) was way down in 71st place.

Local star Masamichi Uehira fired a third round score of six-under-par 65 to grab a one-shot lead over Filipino Juvic Pagunsan after 54 holes.

Uehira is now 14-under-par 199 but with 14 players within five shots at the 150 million Yen (approximately $ 1.9 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour, the final day will see some exciting finishes.

Kapur said he had managed some rest after jet-lag and the travel from Europe but could not get going on the front nine.

"I was a couple of over-par after nine. I really fought back hard. I had a good rest last night. I think my first fairway of the day was on the ninth hole. I was completely out of rhythm," said Kapur.

"I dug deep and I told my caddy, 'let's shoot a 31 on the back nine and get back into this.' I almost did that if I birdied the last but you can't complain with the way I fought back. All in all it was a good comeback to give myself a chance if I can hit a low one."

On his eagle at the 12th, Kapur said, "I hit a perfect tee shot and hit my three wood (250 yards) to eight feet which I sank (eagle on the 12th hole). It was a great second shot that set it up but you still need to knock in your putt."

Pagunsan, the reigning Asian Tour number one, was leading for most of the round but dropped bogeys on 13 and 15 to settle for 67 at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.

Pagunsan, who is aiming to end a five-year title drought on the Asian Tour, got off to a hot start with three straight birdies and turned in 30 where he held a three-shot lead before wobbling in the last six holes.

Japanese Tomohiro Kondo, Koumei Oda and Masahiro Kawamura were a further shot back while overnight leader Hiroyuki Fujita posted a 70 to lie in tied sixth place on 202.

Wu Ashun (67) of China and Darren Beck (70) of Australia both shot hole-in-ones on holes seven and 11 respectively and are four shots back.

Beck, whose game has improved since going for yoga lessons, was three-over for the day at the turn until his five-iron tee shot rolled into the par three 11th hole for his first ace in a tournament. He added two further birdies on 13 and 18 to stay in contention.

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