Panchkula, Haryana, 26-09-2013

Shankar Das and Chikkarangappa take centre-stage in round three

Kolkata’s Shankar Das and Bangalore’s Chikkarangappa S took centre-stage in round three of the PGTI Players Championship presented by Panchkula Golf Club. Both golfers ended day three with identical totals of 13-under-203 to be placed in the joint lead. Amardip Sinh Malik of Meerut and Delhi’s Shamim Khan are three strokes off the lead in tied third position.

Shankar Das (67-69-67), climbed from overnight tied third to joint first after returning a spirited five-under-67, the day’s best score. Shankar had faltered with a bogey on the seventh but soon picked up the pace with an astonishing run of five consecutive birdies from the ninth through the 13th. The 30-year-old’s approach shots on the ninth and 10th stopped five feet from the pin and resulted in birdies.

Das, a winner of three titles, then drove the green on the par-4 11th and found the green in two on the par-5 12th to accumulate two more birdies. The man with the unconventional swing made it five birdies in a row after he came agonizingly close to a hole-in-one with his eight-iron tee shot on the 13th. Shankar pocketed his last birdie of the day on the 16th.

Shankar said, “I was aiming to play some steady, conservative golf after the bogey on the seventh but the birdies kept coming thereafter as I was striking it well. I also made more putts as compared to the previous round. My best shot of the tournament so far came on the 13th where I missed a hole-in-one by a whisker.”

“I’ve just played 10 weeks of competitive golf this year due to my mother’s ill health and that’s the reason for my lack of consistency this season. But now I feel I’m back in my rhythm,” added Shankar, who is looking for his fourth professional title.

Chikkarangappa S (66-69-68), who was overnight second, looked likely to emerge as the sole third round leader for most part of the day until he stumbled on the 18th. He opened the day with a birdie on the first before three-putting for bogey on the par-3 fourth. It was one-way traffic thereafter as the 20-year-old rookie picked up seven birdies over the next 13 holes to open up a three-shot lead at the top. Chikka sank birdie putts from a range of 15 to 20 feet on the 10th, 13th and 17th and came up with a brilliant bunker shot to set up birdie on the 11th.

The Bangalorean, who hails from the Eagleton Golf Resort, ended the day with a disastrous triple-bogey on the 18th after hitting his tee shot out of bounds and missing a chip-putt. Chikka, looking for his maiden title, thus posted a 68 to end up as the joint leader along with Das.

Chikka said, “It was all going for me today. However, I had just one bad shot that made a big dent in my score. Nonetheless, I’m confident going into the final round as all aspects of my game are in top shape. I fancy my chances of shooting a good number here as the layout is quite similar to my home course. I’ve also won a title as a junior at Panchkula and that has added to my self-belief.”

Delhi’s Shamim Khan (68-68-70) and Amardip Sinh Malik (68-69-69) of Meerut are likely to provide some stiff resistance to the joint leaders’ on the final day as they are currently in tied third place at 10-under-206.

Panchkula’s Angad Cheema, Australian Kunal Bhasin and Abhinav Lohan of Faridabad are in tied fifth at nine-under-207 while Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh lies a further shot back in eighth position. 

Rahul Bajaj of Noida, the overnight leader, slipped to tied ninth after a round of 76 on day three. Bajaj now shares ninth place with Karnal golfer Maniram Sharma, Mukesh Kumar of Mhow and Delhi’s Manav Jaini at seven-under-209. 

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