A spectacular second round of four under 68 by Rashid Khan brought India firmly into the medal contention in both men's individual and team competition in the Asian Games Golf event at the Dragon Lake Golf Course on Thursday.
19-year-old Khan's superb display, that also equaled the best round for the day, helped India make a big leap in the team event from ninth overnight to third at the end of the day.
Khan, a former Faldo Series Asia winner who is soon to turn professional, came up with his sub-par round after carding 71 in the first round for an overall two-day aggregate of five-under, which set him up firmly in the hung for the individual medal.
"I played with more confidence today. I hit the ball and everything was perfect. Our team got to seven-under today. We had a meeting yesterday after the round and gave some advice to each other. That's why we improved today," Khan said after bringing himself and India into medal contention.
Team manager S Shanthakumaran praised Khan for his mental toughness and said he can even have a shot at the gold as only he and 16-year-old field leader Filipino Miguel Luis Tabuena can prevent South Korea from winning the individual gold.
"Rashid is so strong mentally that he can make a bid for even gold, as he is just three shot behind the leader."
Khan performed brilliantly with seven birdies in his card. He birdied the 10th, 14th and 15th hopes to go three-under, before dropping a stroke on the 17th. A birdie on the 18th, where he had a double bogey on the first day, saw him turn in four-under.
On his return stretch, he dropped a bogey on the second before birdies on fourth and fifth brought him back. A bogey on the eighth was quickly retrieved for on the ninth.
Tabuena shot a second successive four-under to be eight-under 136 and a stroke behind him was Kim Men Whee of Korea, who has carded 69 in the two rounds to be seven-under 137. Khan lies third at five-under 139.
Only two Indians - Lakshman Singh in 1982 at Delhi and Shiv Kapur in 2002 at Busan - have won individual golf gold medals in the past, while the Indian team also won a gold in 1982.
Later the squad comprising Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri, Chiragh Kumar and Joseph Chakola won silver medal in Doha four years ago.