The stellar field at the tournament will feature 124 professionals with the leading Indian names being event host SSP Chawrasia, defending champion Manu Gandas
Aditi Ashok fired a stunning 11-under 61 in the penultimate round to take a virtually unassailable seven-shot lead and put herself in a position to win a historic gold while carrying the Indian team into the top spot for one more at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Saturday.
Aditi with one more round left, (66-67-61) is 22-under and seven ahead of the close rival Arpichaya Yubol from Thailand.
Indian women have never won a medal in golf at the Asian Games, and only two men Lakshman Singh (1982) and Shiv Kapur (2002) won individual gold and India has won other medals in men’s team events.
The last Indian medal in golf came in 2010, also in China at the Guangzhou Asian Games. Aditi did play at the 2014 Games in Incheon, Korea, but as an amateur and finished 21st.
Aditi’s 11-under scorecard was five shots better than the next-best round of the day. Aditi, who was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, is now 22-under with rounds of 67-66-61 for 54 holes. Her closest rival, Arpichaya Yubol (67-65-69) is 15-under, while China’s Lin Xiyu (67-67-68) is 14-under.
The Indian women’s team moved up to the top spot in the team event, where it holds a one-shot lead over Thailand. India’s other two players, Pranavi Urs (71-68-70) at 7-under and Avani Prashanth (72-69-74) at 1-under are 11th and T-19.
Aditi’s awesome round also gave India a one-shot lead in the team competition. Aditi alongside Pranavi Urs 2-under 70 helped the team to make up five shots on the third day.
Aditi has dropped just one shot in 54 holes and that came in the second round. She opened the third round with a birdie on the second and added further birdies on fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth to get to 5-under.
She landed her second eagle of the week on the short par-4 ninth to turn in 7-under 29. On the back nine a birdie on the 12th was followed by three more on the 15th, 17th, and 18th to get to 11-under, the best score this week.
Pranavi had three birdies against one bogey, while Avani had two birdies and two bogeys in the first 17 holes and then had a double bogey on the 18th in her 74.
In the team section India is now 29-under and is ahead of fancied teams like Thailand (28-under), China (26-under), Korea (20-under), and Japan (20-under.
In the men’s section, Anirban Lahiri, shot 2-over 74 as the heat affected a lot of players. He was at 10-under was Tied-17th, while SSP Chawrasia with a 68 in the third round was T-20 and Khalin Joshi (69) was T-24. Shubhankar Sharma’s 76 saw him drop to T-34 at 3-under.
Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho (70) at 24-under leads the men’s section with Taipei’s Chien-Yao Hung (67) at 21-under and Korea’s Jang Yubin (68) at 20-under in third.
The Indian men are also out of the running for a medal, as they were eighth at a total of 32-under, which was a massive 26 shots behind Korea, while Thailand and Hong Kong share the second place.