Sports

Abhijit Singh Chadha takes one-shot lead over Kartik Sharma, emerges third-round leader at Pune Open Golf

Harpal Singh Bedi

Pune,  3 December: Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha carded bogey-free six-under 64  to take a one-shot lead over Gurugram-based  Kartik Sharma to emerge third-round leader as the rest of the field were another eight shots behind in the  Rs. 40 lakh Pune Open Golf Championship here on Friday

The 30-year-old Abhijit  (63-65-64), lying overnight second and two shots off the lead, with this 64 took his tournament tally to 17-under 192

The 21-year-old Kartik Sharma (66-60-67), the overnight leader, on the other hand, carded a three-under 67 on day three to drop to second place at 16-under 193. The left-hander’s round featured five birdies and two bogeys.

Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia shot the day’s best score of seven-under 63 that propelled him 11 spots to tied third at eight-under 201 along with Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (68) and Bengaluru’s Syed Saqib Ahmed (68).

Among the Pune golfers, amateur Rohan Dhole Patil (75-67-68) was the highest-placed at tied 25th at a total of one-over 210. Fourteen-year-old Australian amateur of Indian origin Aarav D Shah (69-70-71) was also in tied 25th place.

Hole no. 5 which had been reduced from a Par-4 to a Par-3 due to the wet conditions during round two, was once again played as a Par-4 in round three as the course dried up on Friday. The par for the course was therefore reverted from 69 to the original 70 during round three.

There was a one-hour delay in the commencement of play in the morning due to low visibility. Today, the play commenced at 9 am local time. There was no rain for the most part of the day before it started drizzling in the last one hour of play before intensifying into a heavy shower in the last 15 to 20 minutes of play.

Abhijit’s hot putter earned him his breakthroughs on the front-nine as he picked up birdies from a range of 12 to 25 feet on the fourth, sixth and eighth recovering well from the fairway bunker on the eighth.

The 2010 Asian Games silver medallist  Abhijit again capitalized on the two Par-5s, the 12th and 18th, by sinking birdies there. His wedge shot from 145 yards landed within a foot on the 18th.

“I kept myself in play throughout and was happy to not drop a shot once again. Besides the birdies I made two great par saves from 15 feet on the fifth and the 17th, both coming at crucial moments.”Abhijit  said

In round three Kartik led for a major part of the day as he came back strong after an early bogey by sinking birdies on the fifth, sixth, ninth, 10th and 14th. Most of his conversions were from a range of seven to 15 feet.

He then hit his drive near a tree on the 17th where he did not have a swing. He thus had to chip out and settle for a bogey there.

Kartik said, “I made a good par putt on the 13th from eight feet that kept the momentum going. A couple of good up and downs for par on the 15th and 16th were also very crucial as they kept me right up there on the leaderboard.

“Looking ahead to the final round, for me it would be just about playing my game and taking it one shot at a time. The focus will be on trying and hitting as many good shots as I can.” he added.

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