Ramsay takes three-shot lead in Hero Indian Open

Scotland's Richie Ramsay birdied four of his closing five holes as he raced into a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Hero Indian Open on Friday.

Ramsay, who had shared the overnight lead after the opening round, fired a second successive five-under-par 66 for 10-under-par 132 at the $1.25 million Asian Tour event in southwest India.

Thai duo Panuphol Pittayarat and Chapchai Nirat, who last won on the Asian Tour in India in 2009 where he set a new world 72-hole scoring record of 32-under-par 256, and Jaakko Makitalo of Finland returned with matching 68s to stay within touching distance of Ramsay.

Indian star Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won his fourth Asian Tour title in Macau last week, led the local charge with a round of 69 for tied sixth position and is five shots off the pace at the Karnataka Golf Association course.

Ramsay, a two-time winner in Europe, made 11 consecutive pars after his early birdie on 11 but bounced back on his homeward nine with four birdies including a tricky 25-foot downhill birdie putt on the last.

"It is always nice to hole a birdie on the last. It makes your lunch taste a little nicer," said the 29-year-old, in comments released by the organisers.

"The key was patience. I knew I was playing well and hit a lot of good iron shots."

Panuphol, who is hunting for his first Asian Tour title, played blindly on the last three holes as sporadic rain in the afternoon fogged up his glasses.

The highlight of his day was three straight birdies from 14 including a chip in from 15 yards on hole 15.

"The rain was pouring down and I didn't bring my umbrella, which wasn't smart at all," said the 19-year-old.

Leading scores:

132 - Richie Ramsay (SCO) 66-66

135 - Panuphol Pittayarat (THA) 67-68, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 67-68, Jaakko Makitalo (FIN) 67-68

136 - Angelo Que (PHI) 68-68

137 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 69-68, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 68-69, Kwanchai Tannin (THA) 71-66, James Morrison (ENG) 66-71

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