Ramsay retains lead at Indian Open

Richie Ramsay of Scotland maintained a narrow one-stroke lead as he returned a 1-under 70 in the third round for an 11-under 202 total at the Indian Open on Saturday.

Ramsay, a two-time European Tour winner who held a three-stroke lead after the second round, fired three birdies but also bogeyed two holes because of some mediocre putting.

Jaakko Makitalo of Finland, looking for a maiden Asian Tour title, was a stroke behind on 203 after a third-round score of 68.

The Thai pair of Panuphol Pittayarat and Thaworn Wiratchant along with James Morrison of England were joint third on 204.

Seven players were within three strokes of Ramsay, who has held the lead since the first round.

”I found it tough to play with the wind blowing all over the place,” Ramsay said. ”I needed to make some putts which I didn’t. It is surprising to be leading in a tournament with the way I putted. If I can putt better, then I think there’s a better score out there.”

Ramsay said he was not worried about his scoring.

”I don’t have a particular number in mind. I just want to play my own game. If I play well, I can pose a number that people are going to chase me. I can only control what I can do. If they are making lots of birdies, I won’t worry about that. I’ll just do my game plan,” he added.

Makitalo said he was looking forward to the challenge of starting the final round within one shot of the lead.

”It is always nice to have people and the television crew following me. You don’t get mad and do stupid things. The only way I can ruin my game is if I lose focus, get mad and do stupid errors. I think that’s how golf is supposed to be played, with the crowd behind you,” he said.

Wiratchant, a former champion here, added that he was happy with his 4-under 67 that kept him in contention.

”Everything in my game clicked,” the 2005 Indian Open winner said. ”I’ve been hitting it quite good and making the putts. It was a solid round out there. I’ve been consistent this year and it is the same this week.”

Wiratchant also praised the course, which is hosting the tournament for the first time.

”On this golf course, you must hit it on the fairway to score. If you can do that, you will play well. I’ve played in India for many years and this is probably the best course I’ve played on. I want to win again but I can’t control what the others shoot,” he said.