Atwal in joint lead at Mauritius Open

File Photo:Arjun Atwal
IANS|02-Dec-2017 23:17

Port Louis (Mauritius), Dec 2 :Indian golfer Arjun Atwal battled to a three-under 68 in swirling wind to tie for the third round lead with Louis De Jager of South Africa at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on Saturday.

Atwal, a former Asian Tour number one, enjoyed a solid front nine 32 before adding his fifth birdie on the 14th hole. He was ahead by one-shot heading into the 18th but missed a four-foot par putt to finish on 13-under-par 200 total at the Heritage Golf Club.

The 30-year-old De Jager produced a flawless 67, highlighted by two birdies in each half, to charge into contention at the 1 million euros (approximately $1.07 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Sunshine Tour.

Talented Filipino Miguel Tabuena birdied the closing two holes to stay one-shot back of the leaders following a round of 67. He shared third place with Dylan Frittelli of South Africa who also birdied the last hole for a 68.

Atwal, who will captain Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in 2018, will enter the final 18 holes with huge confidence after retaining his lead which he has held since firing a course record 62 on the opening day.

He did not play a practice round this week and is still recovering from a 16-hour journey from Kuala Lumpur. He remains relaxed on the holiday isle of Mauritius as he searches for a ninth Asian Tour title and his first since 2014.

"I played solid all day except for a blip on the last hole which won't bother me. It did play harder today. It was definitely blowing harder out of the three days. I played solid all day," Atwal said in an Asian Tour release.

"The driving was difficult because we had crosswinds on most holes but I drove it on most days pretty good. I'm really looking forward to Sunday. With the way I'm playing, I think I have a good shot at it. I'm really calm here but a bit tired. You mixed those two together and I think I'll be okay on Sunday!"

The 23-year-old Tabuena recovered from an opening bogey to return with five birdies and stay in the hunt for a second Asian Tour title.