For someone yearning to be home, the slogan, "Another place, another world," can only multiply the longing. Instead, Anirban Lahiri utilized it to remind himself of the resemblance Jaypee Greens bears to Eagleton --- The Golf Resort in Bangalore.
Mixing the openness of the course, similar to his home turf, with his long driving skills to whip up a heady potion, Lahiri opened up a three-stroke lead over Jeev Milkha Singh after 16 holes of an unfinished third round.
There was no letting the foot off the accelerator as the 21-year-old finished Friday's unfinished business with a six-under to go into BILT Open's penultimate round with an overall 13-under 131. If the satisfaction of his "game coming together" set the pace for Saturday, adding to the momentum was the bonus of a calculated risk he took late on Friday. "After finishing my front nine, I was about to take the putt on the 1st when the siren sounded. But I went ahead," said Lahiri. The difficult downhill shot came off and the boost of ending with a birdie rubbed off on today's performance.
Round III began in right earnest and continued in the same vein till the 6th with four birdies being logged. Turbulence struck at the following hole as a double bogey happened under rather comical circumstances. "I was ready for the bogey putt when a fly settled on the ball and distracted me," said Lahiri, whose best results this season include tied runner-up at the PGTI Players' Championship in Kolkata and a third in the Toyota Altis Open at Eagleton. Despite a bogey on the 12th, the young pro refused to veer off the path to be 17-under. Part of the leader group along with Lahiri and Rahil Gangjee after the cut was applied at three-over, Jeev was cheerful after the second round. "I hit and putted much better," he said after a card of six-under placed him next to Lahiri at 11-under 133. Further proof was on display as the afternoon wore on. After picking up shots on the 4th, 9th and 12th, bogeys on the 7th and 13th pegged back the advance but an eagle on the 15th ensured the gap did not widen further.
Jeev was on the penultimate green when the hooter sounded and at 14-under, would be vigilant while approaching the last hole. “One needs to be careful on the approach shot because of the hole's layout,” were his words of caution after bogeying it in the earlier round.