Gaganjeet Bhullar carded two-under-par 69 after recovering from a shaky start to share the third round lead with Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond at the Indonesia Open on Saturday.
The Indian, ranked sixth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, opened with a double bogey but steadied ship with his solid ball striking as he joined Jazz, who shot a 68, atop the leaderboard on 13-under-par 200 at the Pantai Indah Kapuk course at Damai Indah Golf.
Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Order of Merit winner, trails the leaders by two shots after he birdied the last for 68 to remain in hot pursuit of his 14th Asian Tour title.
Thaworn Wiratchant, winner of the Indonesia Open in 2005, was a further three shots back following a third-round of 69. India's Jyoti Randhawa recorded the best round of the day with a superb 65, to share fifth position alongside local hope Rory Hie and Prom Meesawat of Thailand at the USD 750,000 Asian Tour event.
Bhullar, who held a one-shot advantage after returning on Saturday morning to finish two holes in round two, lost his lead as soon as he started the penultimate round when he dropped two shots on the first hole after an errand approach shot landed in the bushes.
The four-time Asian Tour winner came back with a pair of birdies from hole three before adding a bogey and birdie on 10 and 13. Following a birdie on 17, Bhullar attacked the 18th green with his seven iron and was rewarded with a birdie from five feet.
"I would never go for the flag but I said that I'm right up there so I might as well give my 100% in this shot and that was the decider I guess. I had about 153 feet to the stick and hit my seven iron to the left of the flag and holed it," smiled the 25-year-old Bhullar.
"I have another 18 holes to play and the battle is on. Jazz is playing good and a lot of other guys are up there. When you are on the golf course, you are pretty much in the zone and you don't realise if you are tired because you are excited," added the Indian, who had to wake up at 3.30am to finish the second round.
Anirban Lahiri is tied 11th after carding a round of 67, Himmat Rai lies tied 23rd after a third-round of 70. Shiv Kapur, Chiragh Kumar and Sujjan Singh are tied 40th, while Abhinav Lohan (tied 55th), Rahil Gangjee (tied 67th) are trailing way behind.
The flamboyant Jazz, who turned 18 four days ago, opened with two birdies before adding four other birdies which included a 50-feet birdie putt on hole 18, against three bogeys. His confidence is still at its peak after finishing tied fifth at the Resorts World Manila Masters two weeks ago.
"I carried on the confidence into my game this week. This golf course is kind of similar to the one I played in Manila so I think that's an advantage for me. This course is a bit too long for me so I'm glad to be playing well here," said Jazz.
A relentless Thongchai, ranked 48th in world golf rankings, was solid for most of the round except for a double bogey on the sixth hole when his wayward tee shot landed in the fairway bunker. He stayed among the title contenders when he sank an eight feet birdie putt on the last.
"I still have a chance to win. The conditions are quite tough. I only had one bad hole otherwise my round was okay. I think three-under is a very good round and I'm happy to be in this position," said the Thai.
The 39th edition of Indonesia's national championship, which has a rich and illustrious history dating back to its first edition in 1974, is the nation's oldest golf tournament.