Jaglan in sight of top-10 finish at Asia-Pacific Amateur

Shubham Jaglan tees off during Round 3 of the 2021 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club on Friday. Photo: AAC
Shubham Jaglan tees off during Round 3 of the 2021 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club on Friday. Photo: AAC

Shubham Jaglan hung in to make a smart recovery on the back nine with two birdies and a crucial par save to card 2-under 69, his third round under-par in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

After 70-68 in the first rounds, he is now 6-under for the three days and lies T13 and is within reach of a top-10 finish, which has been achieved only by two Indians since the tournament began in 2009. Khalin Joshi was T9 in 2010 and Rayhan Thomas was runner-up in 2018.

The other two Indians, Milind Soni and Akshay Neranjan, who made the cut shot even par 71 each and were T-24 and T-37.

Jaglan after being even par with two birdies and two bogeys on par-3 eighth and 14, where the tees had been pushed back in windy conditions, handled the back nine well at the Dubai Creek Golf and Country Club. He fought back with two birdies on 14 and 15 and saved a superb par from 12 feet to card 2-under 69 in the third round.

The 17-year-old Jaglan, who now plays college golf in the University of South Florida, is 6-under for 54 holes and five behind the leader World No. 1 Keita Nakajima (67).

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Nakajima (67) rose to the top of the leaderboard and held a one-shot lead over the two-time champion, Lin Yuxin of China. The overnight leader Jin Bo (69), who is trying to emulate his brother Jin Cheng (winner in 2015) by winning the AAC, slipped to Tied-3rd with Korea’s Sam Choi.

When Jaglan finished the round, the leaderboard showed him 1-under, but it was 2-under.

Jaglan who had four birdies against two bogeys, said, “It was pretty good. I was nervous going into the round knowing I was going to play with Puwit (Anupansuebsai). He’s a really good college golfer.

“I got off to a solid start, hit the green on the first seven holes in a row, so that settled me into the round. I didn’t hole too many putts. I gave myself some good opportunities and the wind was up a little bit today. The tees, especially, on the par 3s were back and that’s where I really struggled. I hit into the water on No. 8 and hit it in the bunker long on No. 14 and made bogey on both.” Jaglan, who had earlier birdied fourth and 10th just hung in.

He added, “I sort of hung in there and kept giving myself good opportunities and came back with birdies on 15 and 16, which was pretty good. I saved a good par on 18.”

About plans for the final round, he said, “I feel good about my game. I’ve been hitting the ball really well all three days. Usually when the wind picks up, I start losing my tempo but that’s something I’ve been working on for the past month or so and that’s really helping me, and it’s just getting more comfortable on the golf course, that always helps, so looking forward to tomorrow.”

Soni had three birdies and three bogeys in first 11 holes, but played par on last seven. Neranjan was making a good move at 2-under without any bogeys in first 15 holes, but dropped bogeys on 16 and 18 for an even par 71.

The day’s best card came from Kho Taichi (64), which equalled this week’s best shot earlier by Bo and Thailand’s Puwit in the second round.

Kho is fifth. Puwit is T6 alongwith three others Yuki Moriyama of Japan, Australian Andre Lautee and Japan’s Leo Oyo.

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