India’s Anirban Lahiri mounted his comeback at the CIMB Classic with a flawless eight-under-par 64 to move to sixth place after the third round of the US$7 million event on Saturday.
Trailing American leader Pat Perez by nine shots, the Indian will have to produce another scintillating performance on the final day to stand any chance of capturing his eighth Asian Tour title and first PGA Tour victory at the TPC Kuala Lumpur.
After signing for a disappointing 73 on the second day, Lahiri showed his battling spirit by charging back into the mix with a spotless card marked by eight birdies and a three-day total of 12-under-par 204.
Speaking after the day’s play, Anirban Lahiri said, “To go bogey free is important, and after yesterday’s disappointment it was important for me to try and get a little closer to give myself a run on Sunday. With the sun coming, the greens are just drying out a little bit so the ball’s rolling better, it’s a little faster. Also, with the wet rough, it’s been really difficult. That’s probably why the scoring was so bad yesterday. So as you see the rough drying out, it will be a little bit more accessible.”
Talking about the winning score, Lahiri said, “Well, it’s going to be 20 something that wins. I’m at 12, so I’ll have to do at least what I did today or better to have a chance, but at least I’ll have a chance. If I was 7 or 8 under going into tomorrow, I don’t think I would have a chance. So I’m happy with getting myself at least somewhere close to the mix and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I remember I was in the car going back, long day that it was, and my dad walked with me on 18 and he said, you know what, I can’t even say anything to you because I know how hard it is. Sometimes you don’t realize it, but you see it so you can’t really fight it. So I just came out today and it’s a new day and just went out with a positive mindset and it worked out well.”
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond continued his fairy tale run in his CIMB Classic debut. The 21-year-old continued to show no signs of nerve as he pitted himself against some of the world’s best players at the Malaysian showpiece.
After rounds of 70, 69 and 66, Jazz will head into the final round in tied-seventh place, 10 shots back of Perez.