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Unheralded Kiyota surges into third round lead in Johnnie Walker Classic

Unheralded Kiyota surges into third round lead in Johnnie Walker Classic

Unheralded Japanese golfer Taichiro Kiyota shot a 5-under par 67 on Saturday to surge into the lead after three rounds of the Johnnie Walker Classic.
Kiyota sank an eagle on the par-five sixth hole and shot four birdies against a lone bogie for a three-round aggregate of 14-under par 202 heading into the final round.
He led the field by a stroke from New Zealand's Mark Brown and Indian Jyoti Randhawa.
The 27-year-old Kiyota, hailing from Kumamoto City, is yet to win a title after five years on the professional circuit and was understandably anxious about what Sunday may hold.
"This is unbelievable, I'm obviously very excited to be on top of the leaderboard. It's the first time for me to be in such a position," said Kiyota.
"I may not be able to sleep well tonight, but hope to handle the stress and distractions to play my usual game tomorrow."
The Johnnie Walker Classic at the DLF Golf and Country Club is a US$2.5 million (euro1.65 million) tournament jointly sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.
Brown, winner of Asian Tour's SAIL Open last week, fired the day's best score of 8-under par 64, which featured an eventful round of two eagles _ a 50-footer on the ninth and another on the final hole _ and seven birdies beside three bogies and just six pars.
Last week's victory had spurred Brown, who at one point in his career gave up golf and took up an office job for three years.
"I had the ability, but I just didn't show it the first time round. I gave it up for three years and worked," said Brown. "Then I began getting an itch to start playing again."
Randhawa, playing on his home course, shot a 4-under par 68 after recovering on the back nine.
Australian Greg Chalmers and two Englishmen, Phillip Archer and Graeme Storm, were in a three-way tie for the fourth position on 11-under par 205.
Three-time Major winner Vijay Singh of Fiji shot a 69 to figure in a tie for 10th place at 9-under par 207, while Australian world No. 5 Adam Scott shot a disappointing 74 on Saturday, leaving him in joint-33rd with 6-under par 210 and seemingly out of contention for the title.
Overnight joint leaders Shiv Kapur of India and Unho Park of Australia shot 72 and 75 respectively. Kapur is tied for seventh, just four shots off the lead.
India's Gaurav Ghei shot an impressive 65 on Saturday, but was subsequently disqualified by chief referee John Paramor after video evidence that he moved his ball on the 18th hole Friday without reporting it.


Updated : 2021-05-13 22:59 GMT+08:00