New Delhi, 26-03-2022

Ajeetesh Sandhu braves the conditions on tough third day, trails leader Nitithorn Thippong by two shots at The DGC Open presented by Mastercard

Bhullar, Dharma & Ahlawat also hang in there to be part of chasing pack

India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu braved the conditions on a tough third day at The DGC Open presented by Mastercard to shoot a one-over 73 and continue in second place at six-under 210. Ajeetesh trails the leader Nitithorn Thippong (70) of Thailand by two shots at the revered Delhi Golf Club.

While Settee Prakongvech (70), another Thai golfer, was placed third at five-under 211, the other Indians in the chasing pack were Gaganjeet Bhullar (73) who was placed fourth at four-under 212 as well as M Dharma (73) and Veer Ahlawat (78) who were both placed tied fifth at three-under 213.

The wind played havoc in round three as just 11 players registered sub-par rounds.

The lowest score of the day was three-under 69 fired by India’s Sachin Baisoya, Filipino Justin Quiban (both tied eighth at one-under 215), India’s SSP Chawrasia (tied 16th at one-over 217) and Singapore’s Jesse Yap (tied 21st at two-over 218).

The 33-year-old Ajeetesh Sandhu (69-68-73), a winner on the Asian Tour in 2017, conceded bogeys on the third and fourth but managed to pull one shot back with a birdie on the par-5 eighth. Fighting the tough conditions, Sandhu dropped two more bogeys on the back-nine but also sank a 15-feet eagle putt on the 14th much to the delight of the local crowd.

Sandhu said, “A difficult day. The wind was off, the course was firm. It was a very good test out there today. Need to do some practice to get ready for tomorrow and hopefully it is a better day tomorrow.  

“I hung in there today, didn’t really have my best day. Off the tee, with the irons, and with the putter, everything was kind of average. But I’m glad I’m still up there and I’ll have a shot to win tomorrow, so that means a lot.”

Nine-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar (73-66-73), who was overnight tied fourth, sank four birdies but also had five bogeys on Saturday, to end the day in sole fourth.

Bhullar said, “I played well, drove it well and gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities by hitting most of the greens in regulation. I was calm and patient throughout the round. I hit a lot of fairways and had a decent day with the putter having missed just one short putt for par on the 13th. I did well keeping in mind the windy conditions.

“On such days, it’s very important to gauge the conditions early on in the round. I’ve played in worse conditions in Europe so I used that experience today. I kept telling myself that no one is going to hit low scores, so just keep making fairways and greens and keep making the up and downs. I’m happy to still be right up there and in contention.”

Round two leader Veer Ahlawat (68-67-78) slipped to tied fifth place after he made six bogeys on Saturday. M Dharma (71-69-73) moved up two spots to join Ahlawat in tied fifth following his round of 73 that featured four birdies and five bogeys.

The three Indians in tied eighth at one-under 215 were Sachin Baisoya (69), Shankar Das (74) and Manu Gandas (75).

Pictures: Asian Tour

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