Mumbai, Maharashtra, 14-12-2018

N Thangaraja races into the lead with a 66 in round three of CG Open

Rashid Khan in hot pursuit at second place, rookie Yashas Chandra rises to third

Sri Lankan N Thangaraja raced into the third round lead at the PGTI’s CG Open 2018 after posting a four-under-66 at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC) on Friday. Thangaraja, lying overnight tied fourth and four off the lead, threw his hat in the ring at the season’s penultimate event as his 54-hole total read 10-under-200.

Delhi’s Rashid Khan, the halfway leader by three shots, slipped to second place after firing a one-over-71 which moved his total to nine-under-201 at the Rs. 1 crore event.

Mysuru-based rookie Yashas Chandra submitted a card of 68 to rise into contention as he climbed from overnight tied fourth to third place at eight-under-202.
 
N Thangaraja (66-68-66), a winner on the PGTI this season, raised hopes of a fourth career title with his superb 66 on day three. Thangaraja didn’t have the ideal start when he bogeyed the first hole but he fought back with a couple of accurate tee shots on the sixth and 10th, both par-3s, where he left himself five feet birdie conversions that negated the slow start.

The 37-year-old Thangaraja’s only setback on the back-nine was the bogey on the 11th. Thereafter, Thanga put up a brilliant display of ball-striking as he got into good positions with his tee shots and approach shots to set up birdies on the 12th and 16th and an inspiring eagle on the closing 18th.

Thanga said, “I’ve been striking it well with my irons all week while my putting has been the weak link. I made 15 regulations today and that helped me create a lot of chances. I made some modifications in the ‘lie angle’ of my irons last week that has further improved my hitting.

“The key for me now is to sharpen my putting as that could be the deciding factor in the final round. The eagle at the end today was a huge confidence-booster and came just at the right time for me. It helps me start the last round in a positive frame of mind,” added Thanga, who currently lies 16th in the PGTI Order of Merit with five top-10s this season.

Rashid Khan (68-62-71), a two-time PGTI Order of Merit champion, looked set to extend his lead on day three when he birdied three of the first five holes. However, Rashid had a disastrous stretch from the 13th to the 15th where he dropped a bogey followed by two double-bogeys, the latter coming as a result of three-putts.

After stuttering in the middle of the back-nine, Khan recovered just in time with two birdies on the last three holes to sign for a hard-fought 71 that kept him in the game.

Yashas Chandra, playing only his eighth event as a professional, was impressive for the third straight day as he followed up his opening 66 with consecutive rounds of 68. He mixed three birdies with a bogey on Friday to get in a position that could see him improve upon his previous best of fifth place which he achieved at Chandigarh last month.

Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar (70) was in fourth place at seven-under-203.

Delhi’s Shamim Khan (66), Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha (69) and Gurugram-based Digvijay Singh (70) were all in tied fifth at six-under-204.

Chiragh Kumar’s bogey-free 64 was the day’s best score. It placed the Delhi golfer in tied eighth at five-under-205.

Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane was tied 44th at five-over-215.




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