New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS): Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera tied overnight leader Rashid Khan of India for the lead at the season-opening SAIL-SBI Open golf tournament before a thunderstorm forced the suspension of the third round here Friday.
Perera, bidding to become the first Sri Lankan to win on Asian Tour, battled to three under par through eight holes and 13-under for the tournament when officials abandoned play at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) due to inclement weather.
Khan, who led by four overnight, was one over through seven holes while Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman moved to within one stroke of the co-leaders with birdies on the first and seventh holes in the $300,000 event.
Two-time champion Anirban Lahiri of India kept alive his hopes of becoming the first man to win the same tournament in three successive years, although he is poised to bogey the ninth hole to fall two off the pace.
Perera, 27, is geared up for a marathon Saturday, with the third round resuming at 7.30 a.m. and the players heading out for the final round in the same groupings from 9 a.m.
“I’m waiting to win an Asian Tour title. Hopefully, it will be tomorrow. It’s exciting but the key is to keep under par. I’ve got to play good again. Hopefully I can have a good start. I’m prepared to play 27 holes. I’m used to it, playing two rounds a day,” said Perera, who birdied the first, second and sixth holes to tie Khan.
“I’ve just got to play good to win it. I had a good start and on every hole. I hit driver as my tee shots were so good. Made a few birdies with some good iron shots but missed a few too. It will be important to stay on the fairways. If I can do that, I can do something tomorrow,” said Perera.
Khan has slept with the overnight lead since his first round heroics of 61 and hopes the shortened day would prove to be a blessing in disguise.
“I think the rain came at the right time. I was one over and the day wasn’t going the way I wanted to. A lot of holes to play tomorrow. I’m hoping for a good day. I’ll have 28 holes to play, we’ll see what happens. Today I started really bad and didn’t make any birdies. I will need to start with a birdie in the morning, need a good round going," said the reigning Indian PGTI No.1.
-13: Mithun Perera (Slk) through 8 holes, Rashid Khan (Ind) through 7 holes
-12: Anirban Lahiri (Ind) through 8 holes, Siddikur Rahman (Ban) through 7 holes
-11: Martin Rominger (Sui) through 8 holes
-10: S.S.P. Chowrasia (Ind) through 9 holes
-9: Shamim Khan (Ind) through 9 holes, Scott Barr (Aus) through 9 holes
-8: Rikard Karlberg (Swe) through 15 holes, Anura Rohana (Slk) through 12 holes, Javi Colomo (Esp) through 9 holes, Akinori Tani (Jpn) through 9 holes, Steve Lewton (Eng) through 9 holes, Unho Park (Aus) through 7 holes.