Chopra in duel with Estes for title at Tesoro

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Miami, Oct 28: Swede Daniel Chopra eyed his maiden PGA Tour title after joining American Bob Estes at the top of the leaderboard in the unfinished Ginn sur Mer Classic third round at Port St Lucie, Florida.

Chopra and Estes both birdied the par-five 11th to get to 16 under overall in the Tour's penultimate event of the season before play was suspended for the day yesterday in fading light.

''We could have finished (the 12th) if we had to but we didn't need to, it was getting dark,'' Chopra, 33, told reporters after he and Estes had both reached the green off the tee on the par-three hole.

''There's a lot at stake now as I get closer and closer to that finish line for my first win on the PGA Tour. It's a big thing.'' The co-leaders were among 34 professionals who will have to complete the third round early on Sunday.

A stroke off the pace when the rain-delayed second round was finished off earlier in the day, Chopra drew level with Estes after gathering four birdies and a lone bogey in the first 11 holes.

Estes, joint pacesetter with fellow American Tommy Armour III for the first two rounds, ran up five birdies and three bogeys to remain tied for the lead with one day remaining.

American Briny Baird was two strokes back in a share of third after reeling off eight birdies in the first 15 holes, level with Japan's Shigeki Maruyama, after 14.

THRILLING BATTLE

In mainly damp and overcast conditions at Tesoro Club's Palmer Course, Chopra and playing partner Estes engaged in a thrilling battle for the lead over the front nine.

Estes, a four-times Tour winner, faltered early when he three-putted for bogey at the first before recovering with an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-five second.

The globe-trotting Chopra, born to a Swedish mother and Indian father, also birdied the second and the pair remained deadlocked at 15 under after they picked up further shots at the par-four third.

Although Chopra slipped back with his first bogey of the tournament after finding left rough off the tee at the fifth, Estes followed suit at the par-four sixth where he missed the fairway off the tee.

Chopra rolled in a 17-foot birdie putt at the sixth to edge ahead before Estes again rallied, a seven-footer at the par-five seventh putting him level with Chopra before he ran up his third bogey of the round at the eighth.

The gutsy American regained a share of the lead by rolling in a 10-footer to birdie the par-four ninth where Chopra missed his own opportunity from seven feet.

After they each picked up another shot at the 11th, they had enough time to find the green off the tee at the 12th before play was suspended for the day.

Reuters
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