Shubhankar fires awesome 63, Udyan cards 67 to share lead at Tata Steel Tour Championship
Jamshedpur, December 18, 2021
Shubhankar Sharma set the Golmuri Golf Course ablaze with a nine-under 63 that catapulted him into the joint lead along with Udayan Mane, who returned a fighting 67, in round three of the Rs. 1.5 crore Tata Steel Tour Championship here on Saturday .
Shubhankar (67-71-63) and Udayan (68-66-67), currently third in the PGTI rankings, totaled 15-under 201 to be placed two shots ahead of defending champion Gaganjeet Bhullar (67-67-69), SSP Chawrasia (63-69-71), and Veer Ahlawat (68-67-68).
Shubhankar followed up his sedate 71 in round two with a red-hot 63 to make a strong comeback as he climbed seven spots from his overnight tied eighth position.
The 25-year-old, a two-time winner on the European Tour, fired two eagles, six birdies and a bogey during his outstanding effort that matched the tournament’s lowest round earlier shot by SSP Chawrasia on day one.
Sharma started his round with birdie-eagle on the first two holes with a 12 feet and 25 feet conversion, respectively. He then landed it within a foot for birdie on the sixth and for his second eagle of the day on the ninth. He also had three other birdies during his extraordinary front-nine at Golmuri.
After the turn, he slowed down as he could only pick up a birdie and a bogey on the back-nine at the Beldih Golf Course.
“The birdie-eagle start gave the impetus to my round which I built upon through the front-nine. I also started well in Beldih but missed an easy up and down on the 12th that took the wind out of my sails a little bit. After that it was tough making birdies as the greens in Beldih are smaller and the pin positions were also tougher today,” he said.
2019 winner Udayan Mane, lying overnight tied third and two off the lead, too had a good start to the day as he birdied the first from 10 feet and then recovered well from the bunker wall with a chip-putt birdie on the fourth before sinking a 30-footer for birdie on the fifth. He dropped a shot on the eighth but soon regained control with a birdie on the ninth.
Udayan then made two-under on the back-nine in Beldih with a 25-feet eagle conversion on the 12th and a birdie and bogey each.
“I got off to a good start on the first hole but was disappointed at not being able to capitalize on the next two par-5s. That’s something I need to work on tomorrow. Nonetheless, I’m happy with how I played the par-3s today," he said.
Gaganjeet Bhullar’s 69 featured an eagle, five birdies and four bogeys while SSP Chawrasia’s 71 included five birdies and four bogeys.
Veer Ahlawat struck an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys during his 68. Veer too has an opportunity to win the Order of Merit title if he wins this week’s event. He is eighth in the merit list at the moment.
Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa, shot a brilliant 65 to move up 27 spots to tied 20th at six-under 210. With a possible top-5 finish in Jamshedpur, Chikka too stands a chance of wrapping up the Order of Merit title.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh fired a solid 67 to climb 22 spots to tied 33rd at three-under 213. Kochhar continues to be one of the favourites to win the PGTI Order of Merit title as he is ahead by Rs. 3,55,250 in the money list and not too far behind nearest rival Chikkarangappa on the leaderboard.
Veteran Jyoti Randhawa (70) ended the day in tied 46th place at one-under 215.
The two Jamshedpur-based professionals, Karan Taunk (four-over 220) and Kurush Heerjee (13-over 229), were placed 64th and tied 71st, respectively.