Akshay Sharma & Sunhit Bishnoi gain two-shot advantage on moving day
Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma of Chandigarh pulled out a three-under 69 while Gurugram’s Sunhit Bishnoi struck a two-under 70 as the duo gained a two-shot advantage over the rest of the field at a total of 12-under 204 in round three of the Rs. 50 lakh India Cements Pro Championship 2023 being played at the TNGF Cosmo Golf Course in Chennai.
Day three of the tournament, also known as moving day in golf, saw Kolkata’s Divyanshu Bajaj produce the week’s lowest round, an eight-under 64, to zoom 24 places to tied third at 10-under 206 along with Chandigarh golfer Harendra Gupta (69).
Bangladesh’s Jamal Hossain was placed fifth at nine-under 207.
On a more windy day and with tougher pin positions in place there were fewer under-par scores (34) in round two as compared to round one (45). The 22-year-old Bishnoi’s 68 helped him rise from being the overnight joint leader to sole leader at a total of 10-under 134.
Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma (67) occupied second place at nine-under 135 while Bangladesh’s Jamal Hossain (69) was a further shot back in third place.
Akshay Sharma (68-67-69), a two-time winner on the PGTI, chipped his way to the top of the leaderboard on Friday. The 32-year-old dropped three bogeys but more than made up for it with six birdies that included two chip-ins and three other accurate chips that led to tap-ins.
Akshay said, “The chip-in on the 12th gave me good momentum despite the slow start. I was quite sharp around the greens on the back-nine and that was evident from the fact that I made a total of 10 putts after the turn. If I can continue doing the same in the final round, I feel I would have a good shot at the title.”
The 22-year-old Sunhit Bishnoi (66-68-70), who hails from the DLF Golf & Country Club, continued in the lead for the third straight day. Sunhit, like Akshay, too had a far better back-nine where he made the most of his chances on the greens. After being two-over through 11 holes, Bishnoi sank four birdies over the last seven holes including the 16th, 17th and 18th to finish the day in style.
Sunhit said, “My iron-play stood out for me today. I also made some great recoveries. Closing the round with a flurry of birdies always helps the confidence. I’ll look to carry that rhythm forward into the last day.”
Divyanshu Bajaj scored an eagle, nine birdies (including five on the trot) and three bogeys during his sensational 64. Divyanshu, who admitted to playing some smart golf, made all the four par-5s count as he sank a 12-feet eagle on the 16th before picking up birdies on the other three par-5s, the 18th, first and second.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Om Prakash Chouhan was tied 14th at six-under 210.
Round 3 Leaderboard:
204: Akshay Sharma (68-67-69); Sunhit Bishnoi (66-68-70)
206: Harendra Gupta (68-69-69); Divyanshu Bajaj (71-71-64)
207: Jamal Hossain (67-69-71)
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