Golf: Manu Gandas maintains five-shot advantage at Golconda Masters Telangana Open
Hyderabad, September 4, 2021
Gurugram’s Manu Gandas carded three-under 64 in round three and maintained his five-shot advantage in the Golconda Masters Telangana Open at the Hyderabad Golf Association (HGA) course on Saturday.
The heavy rain over the past two days resulted in waterlogging in certain parts of the HGA course. As a result, Hole No. 3 was reduced from Par-4 to Par-3, Hole No. 6 was reduced from Par-5 to Par-3 and Hole No. 18 was reduced from Par-4 to Par-3. Therefore, the par for the course in round three was 67 instead of the regular 71.
Manu (64-58-64), looking for his maiden win, totaled 20-under 186 after three days. Manu, one of the most consistent performers this season, mixed an eagle and three birdies with two bogeys in the penultimate round.
Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa (67-63-61), shot a six-under 61 to rise three spots to tied second place at 15-under 191. The others in joint second place were Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Sandhu (67-62-62) and Noida’s Amardeep Malik (66-61-64), who had scores of five under 62 and three-under 64 respectively.
Manu, currently ranked eighth in the PGTI Order of Merit with five top-10s so far this season, continued his solid run at Hyderabad this week by leading the field for the third day in succession.
The 25-year-old Manu, who enjoyed a substantial five-shot lead at the halfway stage, had a rather sedate front-nine on Saturday as he missed several short birdie putts and also bogeyed the seventh after finding the water hazard. His only bright spot on the front-nine was the up and down from the bunker for par on the sixth.
Manu, comfortably ahead of the rest despite his quiet front-nine, then got going on the back-nine to reassert his dominance. He birdied the 10th and 11th, thanks to a couple of brilliant tee shots. After a good chip-putt for birdie on the 14th, the golfer from the DLF Golf & Country Club came up with another outstanding tee shot on the par-4 15th where he drove the green and converted a seven-footer for eagle.
He dropped another shot on the 17th where he found the water hazard for the second time in the round. However, he managed to stay the top contender for the title with his healthy five-shot lead.
Manu said, “It was a decent round but not up to my expectations as I missed a lot of short birdie putts. However, considering the match situation, three-under was a more than handy score as it kept me way ahead of the rest which in turn would mean less pressure on me in the final round.
Chikkarangappa’s round featured an eagle, five birdies, and a bogey and he made a late surge with a six-under on the back-nine. The former champion will look to challenge the leader on the final day.
Yuvraj Sandhu’s 62 included six birdies and a bogey and kept him in the mix. Amardeep Malik, lying overnight second, hung in there in tied second place along with Chikka and Sandhu after making five birdies and two bogeys in his round of 64.
Panchkula’s Angad Cheema shot the day’s lowest score of seven-under 60 that lifted him 31 spots to tied 14th at seven-under 199. He had an error-free day.
Local lad Mohd Azhar from the Vooty Golf County near Hyderabad struck a hole-in-one on the seventh hole during his third round of two-under 65. He too was placed tied 14th at 199. Interestingly, he had also made a hole-in-one in PGTI’s last event in March.
Karandeep Kochhar (63) of Chandigarh was in tied fifth place at 12-under 194 along with Patna’s Aman Raj (62) and Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa (62).
Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta, the winner of the inaugural edition in 2015, was tied 29th at three-under 203.
The two local amateur golfers, Milind Soni (two-under 204) and Tej Gangavarapu (three-over 209) were placed tied 33rd and tied 49th, respectively.