Akshay Bhatia gets back into the fray with 67, lies fifth in Puerto Rico -
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Akshay Bhatia gets back into the fray with 67, lies fifth in Puerto Rico

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Akshay Bhatia.

 Khel Today Bureau 

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico: Akshay Bhatia was back into the Top-5 with one round to go at the Puerto Rico Open as he goes for his first PGA TOUR victory. Bhatia who had 66-71 in the first two rounds rallied with a 67 that had

eight birdies against three bogeys. Bhatia, winner on the Korn Ferry Tour, can get into the main PGA Tour with a win this week.

He trails leader and PGA TOUR rookie Nico Echavarria of Colombia by five shots. Echavarria had four straight birdies early in his round and finished with a 7-under 65 for a two-shot lead. He is also looking for his first PGA TOUR victory.

Carson Young, who led the opening two rounds birdied the last hole for a 71 and was Echavarria’s closest pursuer, but two strokes behind.

Young had a four-shot lead at the start of the third round but the 28-year-old Colombian eagled the par-5 second hole and then had four straight birdies starting from the fourth. He went out in 30 and had the lead by the time they made the turn. Echavarria was at 17-under 199.

Sam Stevens (65) and Nate Lashley (67) were four shots behind. Behind them are Bhatia and Harry Hall in tied fifth.

The winner this week earns a spot in THE PLAYERS Championship next week with its $25 million purse, along with spots in the PGA Championship and a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.

A win in Puerto Rico does not get an invitation to the Masters because the Puerto Rico Open is held the same week as the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.

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