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Aiken takes third round lead at Avantha Masters

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Associated Press
3/16/2013 11:29:18 AM
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GREATER NOIDA, India -- South African golfer Thomas Aiken fired a 10-under 62 to claim the sole lead in the Avantha Masters by three shots after three rounds on Saturday.

Aiken tallied eight birdies and an eagle to total 18-under 198 and leave behind joint overnight leader Liang Wenchong of China, whose 69 gave him 15 under.

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (66) and Scotland's David Drysdale (68) were at 14 under.

A further stroke behind were Australian Scott Hend (68), Finland's Joonas Granberg (69) and England's Tommy Fleetwood (69).

Aiken, whose only previous win on the European Tour was the 2011 Open de Espana, said an eagle on the second hole boosted his round.

"I concentrated very hard to play one shot at a time and it seemed to work," he said. "It just shows what can happen. I got off to a great start - holing a pitch shot on the second for eagle always helps - and from then on I just stuck to my game plan. I'm very pleased with the way I played."

Aiken believed he had been playing well lately, but everything seemed to be finally clicking here on Jaypee Greens.

"I've been playing very well the last four months but just haven't converted opportunities," he said. "Fortunately, this week I've converted a lot of the opportunities that I've had. The majority of them have gone in from inside 10 feet and that's what makes the difference from a scoring point of view."

Liang lost the initiative when he dropped strokes on two holes on the front nine due to bad putting.

"The key is to stay patient as I'm just three shots back and am confident that the gap can be closed," Liang said. "Anything can happen in golf and I only need to believe that I can do it. Hopefully luck will play a part as well."

Thomas Aiken (Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
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