Saqib was amongst the birdies on Valentine's Day, albeit on the golf course when he fired seven of them to emerge as the runaway leader at the end of the third round of the Tata Steel Haryana Open Golf Championship being played at the Golden Greens Golf Club here on Thursday.
The Bangalore lad submitted a card of 6-undar par 66 for a three-round total of 8-under 208 and was leading by eight shots from Karan Taunk and Udayan Mane who shot level par 72 and 2-over 74 respectively.
Simarjeet Singh was fourth position at 217 while Trishul CHinnappa was fifth at 218. Arshal Ali occupied the sixth position at 219 while Manav Das was tied for the seventh spot along with two others - Viraj Madappa and Varoon Parmar at 220.
Saqib after a steady beginning, made a hattrick of birdies beginning from the third and finished his front nine with another birdie to be 4-under.
Continuing in the same vein, Saqib who studies at the Jain College in Bangalore began his return journey with a birdie.
The only dark spot on his card was on the 14th where he made a bogey from centre fairway after pulling his shot into the rough. Nevertheless he made amends on the very next hole by saving a shot and signed off in style with his seventh birdie on the finishing hole.
"I think it was a combination of my hitting and putting, especially the latter as I sank a few long ones," said the 18-year-old.
"I know it is a big lead but I am intending to play it hole by hole and play my regular game," said the leader after the round.
With an eight-shot lead, the fight will be for the minor placings, if Saqib sticks to his guns that is.
Top scores after 54 holes
208 Syed Saqib Ahmed (70, 72, 66); 216 Karan Taunk (74, 70, 72), Udayan Mane (69, 73, 74); 217 Simarjeet Singh (73, 69, 75); 218 Trishul Chinnappa (73, 71, 74); 219 Arshad Ali (75, 71, 73); 220 Manav Das (76, 73, 71), Viraj Madappa (72, 74, 74), Varoon Parmar (76, 67, 77); 222 Jaibir Singh (74, 75, 73); 223 Arjun Sharma (73, 75, 75), Harimohan Singh (73, 74, 76); 224 HS Kang (75, 75, 74), Manu Gandas (73, 76, 75); 226 Shakti Singh (77, 72, 77)