Late eagle puts Larrazabal on top

Pablo Larrazabal has been propelled into the 3rd-round lead at the Avantha Masters by a magical eagle on the last.

Spanish young gun Pablio Larrazabal was propelled into the 3rd-round lead at the Avantha Masters on Saturday by a magical eagle three on the last.

The eagle helped Larrazabal moved to the top of the leaderboard at 11-under par with a 6-under-parr 66 and took him one shot clear of India’s SSP Chowrasia, his compatriot Suijan Singh and Argentina’s Rafa Echenique.

Chowrasia and Echenique were back in the clubhouse with a 67 and Singh with a 68

The round had once more to be suspended due to darkness with 24 players still out on the course and with England’s Robert Coles currently tied with him for the lead at 11-under after 16 holes and Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh, the second round leader, and home favourite, at 9-under after 13 holes, there is no guarantee Larrazabal will still top the leaderboard when they complete their third rounds on Sunday morning.

As it was though, Larrazabal was clear by two and the trio in second place by one of another group of determind pursuers on nine-under that included first round leader Robert Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, Angelo Que of the Philippines, Tha Chapchai Nirat, and Fenchman Gregory Havret.

After starting his round in a tie for 15th, Larrazabal birdied the sixth, eight and ninth holes to reach the turn in 33.

He added another birdie on the par-four 10th before committing his only blemish on the 12th hole.

The Spaniard then birdied the 14th before his eagle on the last brought him to the top.

“It was one of the days where I played nicely. I made some nice par putts at the start of the round and I knew that the birdie chances would come because I was playing well,” said Larrazabal.

“The eagle at the last was the highlight obviously. I hit a nice drive and then got to the ball on the fairway and found it was in an old divot.

“I had 184 metres to the flag and I thought that I had to hit plenty of club to compensate for the divot. I did that, with a nice faded four iron into about ten feet and made the putt,” added Larrazabal.

Meanwhile Chowrasia looked to have regained the form that led him to his first win when he defeated an elite field at the Indian Masters in 2008.

Starting the day tied-for 15th, Chowrasia birdied his opening par-four first. However he gave that shot back with a bogey on the sixth before hauling himself back into contention with two birdies on holes eighth and nine.

He marked his card with another birdie on the par-three 11th before dropping another shot on the 13th hole.

Three birdies starting from the par-five 14th would however surge him back up the leaderboard.

“I’m really feeling good about my game at the moment. It was solid from tee to green and I did not make many mistakes today,” said Chowrasia.

“I’m well-rested. After playing 30 holes yesterday, 18 holes today felt like a breeze and I’m feeling very comfortable,” added the Indian of his second round resumption that resulted because of a fog delay on the opening day.

Que, who is seeking his fourth Asian Tour win, mixed three birdies against two bogeys in his opening front-nine.

After reaching the turn in 35, the 32-year-old had a flawless back-nine, carding birdies on the 11th, 12th and 15th holes.

“I’ve been having fun and I’ve been hitting the ball good. However I’ve been struggling with the read on the greens. My caddie has been helping me, but it’s still hard to read them over here,” said the effervescent Filipino.

Que believes that if he can hole his putts on the final day, he might emerge as the dark horse at the €1.8 million (approximately US$2.3 million) event which is tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the European Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

“I’m only two shots off the lead and I’m playing with the leader tomorrow so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll just play my own game and if I do that tomorrow with the way I’m hitting it, I might have a chance because I’ve been hitting it pretty close and it’s just that I’m not holing that many putts,” added Que.