Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong returned a two-under-par 70 to take a two-shot lead after the third round of The DGC Open presented by Mastercard today, moving into unchartered territory holding the lead in an Asian Tour event for the first time in his fledgling career.

The 25 year old, three behind overnight leader Veer Ahlawat from India at the start of the day, carded four birdies and two bogeys at Delhi Golf Club, and leads on eight under.

India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu is in second place after shooting 73, while Thailand’s Settee Prakongvech carded 70 and is a stroke further back – in the fourth event of the season on the Asian Tour.

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, a nine-time winner on the Asian Tour (which is the most by an Indian golfer), came in with a 73 and is four behind the leader in solo possession of fourth.

Ahlawat carded a disappointing 78 but is still only five off the lead.

Last month Nitithorn finished tied fourth in the Royal’s Cup on home soil for his best finish on the Asian Tour and is now on the threshold of vastly improving upon that tomorrow.

“Today, I could 100% focus on my game and process so that’s why the result was really good,” said the Thai golfer, who turned professional in 2015 and claimed the PGM Penang Championship on the Asian Development Tour three years later.

“I just focus on my process, just play, and have fun. I didn’t hit many greens today, but I made a lot of great up and downs, I think I made almost all my up and downs.”

He also admitted to having a craving for Delhi Golf Club’s chocolate milkshakes and said he downed three cups before today’s round.

Sandhu, who has won once before on the Asian Tour at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in 2017, looked to be out of the running for much of day but made an eagle on the par-five 14th, where he hit a five iron to 15 feet, to rekindle his chances and also place him in the final pairing on Sunday.

Said Sandhu: “A difficult day. The wind was off, the course was firm. It was a very good test out there today. Need to do some practice to get ready for tomorrow and hopefully it is a better day tomorrow.  

“I hung in there today, didn’t really have my best day. Off the tee, with the irons, and with the putter, everything was kind of average. But I’m glad I’m still up there and I’ll have a shot to win tomorrow, so that means a lot.”

This is the inaugural The DGC Open presented by Mastercard, which offers a total purse of US$500,000, and is the first Asian Tour event to be played in India since the 2019 Panasonic Open India.

Scores after round 3 of The DGC Open presented by Mastercard being played at the par 72, 6957 Yards Delhi GC course (am – denotes amateur):

 208 – Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 68-70-70.

210 – Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 69-68-73.

211 – Settee Prakongvech (THA) 71-70-70.

212 – Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 73-66-73.

213 – M Dharma (IND) 71-69-73, Veer Ahlawat (IND) 68-67-78.

214 – Bjorn Hellgren (SWE) 71-70-73.

215 – Sachin Baisoya (IND) 71-75-69, Justin Quiban (PHI) 74-72-69, Shankar Das (IND) 67-74-74, Manu Gandas (IND) 71-69-75.

216 – Tapy Ghai (IND) 75-70-71, Yashas Chandra (IND) 73-73-70, Om Prakash Chouhan (IND) 72-73-71, Kasidit Lepkurte (THA) 71-68-77.

217 – Shamim Khan (IND) 71-75-71, Mani Ram (IND) 72-74-71, Aman Raj (IND) 71-73-73, S.S.P. Chawrasia (IND) 77-71-69, Mithun Perera (LKA) 73-70-74.

218 – Cory Crawford (AUS) 72-74-72, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 73-73-72, Kevin Yuan (AUS) 71-75-72, Shiv Kapur (IND) 71-73-74, Mathiam Keyser (RSA) 72-72-74, Dhruv Sheoran (IND) 72-72-74, Jesse Yap (SIN) 78-71-69, Karandeep Kochhar (IND) 69-71-78, Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA) 72-67-79.

219 – Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (IND) 75-70-74, Travis Smyth (AUS) 67-73-79, Kapil Kumar (IND) 74-66-79.

220 – Sydney Chung (USA) 73-73-74, Abhijit Chadha (IND) 72-75-73, Paul Peterson (USA) 76-68-76, Angad Cheema (IND) 74-69-77, Rashid Khan (IND) 72-69-79.

221 – William Harrold (ENG) 73-73-75, Sunit Chowrasia (IND) 74-74-73, Viraj Madappa (IND) 75-73-73, Varun Parikh (IND) 70-73-78, Pawan Kumar (IND) 75-73-73.

222 – Miguel Delgado (USA) 74-73-75, Manav Jaini (IND) 72-73-77, Md. Zamal H Mollah (BAN) 71-74-77, Ian Snyman (RSA) 71-73-78.

223 – Tanapat Pichaikool (THA) 76-71-76, Honey Baisoya (IND) 76-72-75, Kshitij Naveed Kaul (IND) 76-72-75, Ranjit Singh (IND) 73-76-74, Danthai Boonma (THA) 76-73-74.

224 – Abhinav Lohan (IND) 72-73-79, Sangchai Kaewcharoen (THA) 73-75-76, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 75-74-75, Dodge Kemmer (USA) 72-71-81, Koh Deng Shan (SIN) 76-73-75, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 74-75-75.

225 – Blake Collyer (AUS) 71-76-78.

226 – Anura Rohana (LKA) 75-73-78, Khalin Joshi (IND) 74-75-77, Kartik Sharma (IND) 82-67-77.

227 – Ryoto Furuya (USA) 75-71-81, Mohammad Sanju (IND) 73-73-81, Amrit Lal (IND) 73-69-85, Suttijet Kooratanapisan (THA) 72-77-78.

228 – Rory Hie (INA) 74-75-79.

235 – Sunhit Bishnoi (IND) 76-73-86.

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