Golf: Karandeep Kochhar cards 67 in third round, stretches lead to four shots
Chandigarh, November 11, 2020
Local challenger Karandeep Kochhar fired a bogey-free five-under 67 in round three to stretch his lead to four shots in the Tata Steel PGTI Players Championship at the Chandigarh Golf Club here on Wednesday.
Kochhar’s effort moved his total to 15-under 201 while Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma, last week’s winner, shot a 68 to share second position along with Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat (68) and Mysuru’s Yashas Chandra (69) at 11-under 205.
Karandeep (66-68-67), whose only win on the PGTI came in 2016 while he was still an amateur, was off to a flying start as he birdied the first two holes, making a 15-feet conversion on the first and finding the par-5 green in two on the second. Kochhar followed it up with two exceptional par saves by recovering from the bunker on the sixth and from the trees on the ninth.
Karandeep, who wasn’t in the best of hitting form on day three, made further inroads on the back-nine thanks to his putting. He sank birdie putts from a range of 12 to 25 feet on the 10th, 12th and 18th.
“I enjoy a healthy lead but I definitely need to strike the ball better in the last round so that there is less pressure on my short-game. The key in the final round would be getting a good start by playing well on the first five to six holes. If I’m around two-under on the first six holes, that would give me a big advantage.” the third round leader said.
Akshay Sharma (69-68-68) gained two positions to be tied second. He produced an eagle, six birdies and four bogeys. Akshay made an eagle-two on the fourth after his incredible eight-iron approach from 158 yards found the hole.
“I posted a low number but made too many bogeys for my liking. I was five-under on the front-nine today and expected to continue the momentum on the back-nine. But three of my four bogeys came on the back-nine and that was disappointing because I feel the back-nine is easier to negotiate," Akshay said.
Veer Ahlawat (66-71-68) also moved up two places from his overnight tied fourth. He struggled with his putting till the sixth hole making a birdie and bogey each. Thereafter, he holed putts from a range of 10 to 20 feet to pick up four birdies.
Yashas Chandra (68-68-69) continued in his overnight tied second place after a 69 which included five birdies and two bogeys. Yashas struggled to find the fairways but his short-game came to his rescue. His round was highlighted by a 25-feet conversion on the fifth.
Delhi’s Shamim Khan (68) and Arjun Prasad (70) as well as Chandigarh’s Amrit Lal (68) were in tied fifth place with identical totals of 10-under 206.
Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa fired the day’s best 66 to be tied eighth along with Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (70) at eight-under 208.
Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi (67) was tied 10th at seven-under 209 while the Chandigarh duo of Ajeetesh Sandhu (69) and Aadil Bedi (73) were in tied 15th place at five-under 211.
Defending champ Rashid Khan (72) of Delhi and PGTI Order of Merit leader Udayan Mane (75) of Pune were both placed tied 22nd at three-under 213.