Kshitij Naveed Kaul holds on to one-shot lead into final round of the RCGC Open Golf Championship
Kolkata, November 27, 2021
Delhi's Kshitij Naveed Kaul carded a dogged two-under 70 and managed to hold on to a slender one-shot lead into the final round of the Rs. 40 lakh ICC RCGC Open Golf Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) here on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Kshitij, the half-way leader by two shots, managed to keep his nose ahead in round three as he fired three birdies and a bogey that took his total to 12-under 204.
Panchkula’s Angad Cheema (68-68-69), lying overnight second, narrowed the gap between himself and the leader to just one shot after his round of 69 that featured four birdies and a bogey.
Gurugram’s Ankur Chadha (68-69-69), who was third at the half-way stage, too carded a 69 punctuated by five birdies and two bogeys, to keep himself in the fray.
Sunit Chowrasia (71) was the highest-placed Kolkata golfer in tied fourth at six-under 210. Last week’s winner Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (72) of Chandigarh joined Sunit in tied fourth. Greater Noida-based Arjun Sharma returned the day’s best card of 67 to be placed 15th at two-under 214.
Defending champion Mithun Perera (73-73-74) of Sri Lanka was tied 32nd at four-over 220.
While Kaul and Cheema are in search of their second title, Chadha will look to take a shot at his maiden title.
It was a slow and steady start for Kaul on day three as he made pars all the way till the 12th. He dropped a bogey on the 13th as a result of an error in club selection but came fighting back with birdies on the 14th, 15th, and 16th thanks to his precision with his approach shots.
Kaul, who won on the PGTI in 2019, said, “I played very disciplined golf and stuck to my game plan. I just hit it closer on the back-nine which helped me pick up those birdies. I made some great par saves on the seventh and 18th where I had some awkward chip shots but managed to land it within five feet on both occasions.
Cheema was also slow off the blocks on Saturday. He three-putted for a bogey on the sixth before picking up his first birdie of the day on the 10th. He then kept pace with the leader by adding three more birdies on the 15th, 16th, and 17th draining some clutch putts from a range of eight to nine feet.
Cheema, who won his only previous title in his rookie season in 2013, said, “I was quite solid today even though I wasn’t hitting it close enough to set up birdie opportunities. But I made pars and kept myself in it. The 10-feet birdie conversion on the 10th really got me going. The birdie on the 16th was also key as Kshitij was much closer to the flag than I was. "
Ankur Chadha was one-over through the front-nine but thereafter rallied with four birdies on the back-nine to stay in contention for the title.