Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa delivered a seven-under 65, their best round of the week but still felt they left far too much out on the course on the third day of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup golf here on Saturday. Despite their lip—outs and near misses, they are now 16-under and tied for ninth, two down from overnight seventh.
India are the second best Asian team after Japan, who at 19-under after a third round 64, are tied fourth with South Africa (62).
The leaders continue to be Ireland with Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. But their lead was now down to just one shot. The Irish pair shot 32 on either side of the Olazabal course for a 64 to go to 26-under, but snapping close on their heels are the defending champions, Sweden and Italy.
The Indian pair came here without a practice round together as they had a visa scare with Randhawa getting delayed in getting his papers. He arrived in the nick of time on Wednesday to be able to tee off Thursday. “From being almost not here to possibly finishing in top—10, seems good,” said the optimistic Randhawa, who had a share in India’s best-ever World Cup finish in ninth place in 2005 with Arjun Atwal.
“This is my fourth World Cup, last year Jeev and I were 17th. I also played with Gaurav Ghei in 2007.” Jeev said: “I thought we left a lot of shots out there. We were off to a flyer with three birdies and were then five-under for seven holes. Then even after birdies on 10th, 11th and 12th, we were seven-under. A 10-under day was possible, but then we had lip—outs, horse shoes and near misses.”
Sweden with Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson who won as a team last year, brought in a 62 to come to 25-under and with them are the Italian Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco, who along with Koreans, Yang Yong-Eun and Chalie Wi, carded the day’s best of 61.
Karlsson and Stenson threatened to take the thunder away from young McIlroy and McDowell. The Swedes are just one behind and their experience of winning here could well be a major plus for them. Brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari also played the front nine of the undulating Olazabal Course in five under and then went one better with a back-nine 30 to finish 11—under and move to 25-under in tied second with Sweden.
Meanwhile, low scoring sprees continued elsewhere, too. A birdie—filled battle saw South Africa and England give their followers a lot of excitement. Saabtini, a former World Cup winner, and Sterne, a steady European Tour star, were a bit slow off the blocks and just one—under after three, but then were eight-under for the next nine holes to be nine-under and finally 10-under for the day to be 19—under in fourth place.