New Delhi: SSP Chowrasia and Sujjan Singh kept Indian hopes alive as they closed the gap with sole leader Pablo Larrazabal at the Euro 1.8 million Avantha Masters even as play was suspended due to darkness here on Saturday.
Larrazabal had an eagle on his closing hole to move into clubhouse lead but Chowrasia, winner of the first-ever European Tour event in India in 2008, was just one shot behind the Spaniard after a round of 67.
Keeping pace with him was Sujjan (68) and Argentina's Rafa Echenique (67).
And one shot behind them was Jeev Milkha Singh at nine-under but he has five more holes to play in his third round.
Home favourite Jeev, looking for his first international title at home is nine-under-par through 13 holes while Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee is seven-under-par through 13 holes.
A total of 24 players have yet to complete their third round and will resume play on Sunday morning. Chowrasia looked to have regained the form that led him to his first win when he defeated an elite field at the Indian Masters in 2008.
Starting the day tied-for 15th, Chowrasia birdied his opening par-four first. However he gave that shot back with a bogey on the sixth before hauling himself back into contention with two birdies on holes eighth and nine.
He marked his card with another birdie on the par-three 11th before dropping another shot on the 13th hole. Three birdies starting from the par-five 14th would however surge him back up the leaderboard.
"I'm really feeling good about my game at the moment. It was solid from tee to green and I did not make many mistakes today. I'm well-rested. After playing 30 holes yesterday, 18 holes today felt like a breeze and I'm feeling very comfortable," said Chowrasia.
Sujjan Singh, who came through the Asian Tour Q-School this year said, "I putted well and focused hard today. I was patient throughout the round and didn't get too greedy. I've been hitting it good this week and have read the lines to perfection. The best part about my game at the moment is that I'm not making any three-putts."
Shiv Kapur who dropped a bogey and a double bogey on the front nine on fifth and seventh, made up with birdies on ninth and 10th. Then late in the evening he drove the 15th green and landed an eagle to come to even par through 16 holes and he stayed at seven-under. He has two more holes to play.
Larrazabal, who came through a 36-hole qualifier and went on to win the Open de France ALSTOM in his Rookie Year in 2008, started his round tied for 15th.
He birdied his sixth, eight and nine holes to reach the turn in 33. He added another birdie on the par-four 10th before committing his only blemish on the 12th hole. The Spaniard then birdied the 14th before his eagle on the last brought him to the top.
"It was one of the days where I played nicely. I made some nice par putts at the start of the round and I knew that the birdie chances would come because I was playing well," said Larrazabal.
Also at 11-under was Robert Coles, the Englishman, who also had an eagle but on par-4 15th, where he drove the green and sank a 25-foot birdie putt. He still had two more holes to play when darkness descended.