LAHORE: During the third days competitive golfing activity of this four rounds 7th J. A. Zaman Memorial Open Golf Championship, two formidable and daunting golf professionals occupied the leaderboard with identical scores.

The Championship moves into the final phase, and M. Shabbir has captured the limelight with a sparkling performance in the third round. His score on the third day was illuminated with five birdies on holes 7, 10, 14, 15 and 16 and twelve regulation pars. The only bogie was encountered on the 4th hole. Such an effort fetched him a third days score of a glowing and gleaming 68 and his aggregate for the three days adds up to 209, seven under par. Certainly this number one ranked player of the professional golf circuit of Pakistan was intense in application of his golfing skills and through precision and impeccability in shot making, chipping and putting, he managed to cover up his stroke arrears and join Matloob Ahmed on top of the ladder.

His adversary, Matloob Ahmed of Lahore Garrison enjoyed a five stroke advantage over Shabbir at the start of the third round but as the round progressed, uncalled for loss of strokes on holes 5, 7, 10, 12 and 13 completely neutralised the advantage that Matloob enjoyed over Shabbir and now they are bunched together at an aggregate score of 209, seven  under par. And now that they are evenly placed it becomes difficult to predict what shape this combat of champions is going to take .

Out of the other aspirants Shahid Javed Khan of WAPDA stands out as an opponent of significance. After a brilliant and incredible show in the second round when he carded a round of gross 64, Shahid came up with a slightly dispirited performance and for a player of his class the bogies were too many. He lost strokes on holes 5, 8, 9 and 18 and though these were partly neutralised through birdies on holes 3, 7 and 14, he had to be content with a third round score of 73. However, his aggregate score for three rounds is 211, five under par and he is placed two strokes behind the leaders Shabbir and Matloob.

M. Munir (Rawalpindi) is another prominent one who is placed at score of 215, followed by Waheed Baloch (Karachi) at 216, M. Afzal (Hyderabad) at 217 and M. Khurshid (Islamabad ) also at 217.

The 7th J.A.Zaman Memorial Open Golf Championship concludes on Sunday and at the conclusion of the championship ,the prize distribution hosted by Zaman Family will be held at 4.30pm at Lahore Gymkhana Golf Club Lawns.


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