Anirban Lahiri made another upward move in the third round but was still left dissatisfied as he dropped two shots in last six holes, leaving him at five-under 211 and in tied seventh place at the World Golf Championships here.
On a rather breezy day Lahiri was cruising as one of the better scorers at three-under through 12 and reached as high as fourth yesterday. But a bogey on 13th and another dropped shot on 17th saw him drop to tied seventh, but still two places higher than T-9 after the second round.
Rory McIlroy carded a bogey-free round, his first in 2016, to move into a three-shot lead ahead of the final round at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. At12-under, he was three clear of Adam Scott (73) and Dustin Johnson (71).
Lahiri, winner of two European Tour titles in 2015, including his home open, the Hero Indian Open, which he defends in a fortnight’s time, said, "Yeah, happy with the way I played today. (But) Obviously disappointed (too), left a few putts out there coming in. But all in all a good day. I think the course played its hardest today, so I’m happy with the way I played."
Lahiri added, "This is the third day in a row that we’ve had a different wind. So honestly, I have no idea what to expect tomorrow in terms of the conditions. Obviously the course is getting a lot firmer. I think at the end of the day, it’s going to be about not making mistakes. If you don’t drop a shot, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make birdie. I’m just hoping I can put a bogey-free round together (on Sunday)."
The Blue Monster golf course at Doral finally showed it teeth as the wind blew the hardest it has all week. Add to that tucked pin positions, and it meant only a third of the field of 63 left, broke par. Lahiri was one of them.
Talking about his current position, Lahiri said, "Like I said, I got it to 7 (under) and the last six holes, I didn’t play my best. So I’m a little disappointed. Thought I could have pushed harder to get to 8 or 9. But obviously tomorrow, (I am) still giving myself an outside chance, so hopefully I can go out there and play my best."
In windy conditions, Lahiri did not drive as accurately as the first two days and neither did he find as many greens in regulation, but scrambled very well to stay under par.
Playing with former Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel, for the third day in a row, Lahiri opened with a birdie, but gave that shot away with a bogey on second, when he found himself in the left rough off the tee and again off his second shot and missed a 10-footer par putt. After three pars, he holed a 33-footer from the bunker for a superb birdie on sixth and added another birdie from seven feet on eighth to turn in two-under.
An 11-foot birdie on 10th saw him reach three-under for the day and seven-under for the tournament, at which point he was sole fourth. He bogeyed the 13th, missed a birdie putt from inside eight feet on 16th before missing an even shorter par putt from just over five feet on 17th.
McIlroy, a four-time Major Champion, trailed Scott by two shots overnight but needed only five holes to pass the Australian after birdieing the first and fifth holes as Scott dropped a shot on the fourth.
McIlroy, who has switched to a cross-handed putting grip, added further birdies on the eighth and tenth holes in a four under par round of 68 to move to 12 under par at Trump National Doral to give himself a chance of capturing his third WGC title.
Scott (73) dropped to nine under, and was joined in second by defending champion Johnson (71). England s Danny Willett (72) shares fourth position with Americans Phil Mickelson (70) and Bubba Watson (71).
Spanish pair Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Sergio Garcia returned matching rounds of 67 to share seventh place on five under par, alongside Lahiri.