Gangjee, Cheema, Bhullar in three-way tie at the top after round three
Rahil Gangjee and Angad Cheema announced themselves as top contenders for the title after their brilliant rounds of seven-under 65 on day three placed them in the joint three-way lead along with Gaganjeet Bhullar at the INR 3 crore TATA Steel Tour Championship 2023, the TATA Steel PGTI’s season-ending event being played at the Beldih and Golmuri Golf Courses in Jamshedpur. Bhullar fired a 67 on Saturday as the trio was tied at the top with totals of 19-under 197.
Divyanshu Bajaj (65), Arjun Prasad (65), Kartik Sharma (66) and Shivendra Singh Sisodia (66) were a distant tied fourth at 15-under 201.
The first three rounds of the richest event on the PGTI saw one half of the field play their first nine holes at Golmuri Golf Course and second nine at Beldih Golf Course while the other half of the field played Beldih first followed by Golmuri. This format will also be followed for the fourth and last round of the tournament in Jamshedpur with the par for the round being 72. The leading groups will start at Golmuri and finish at Beldih.
Rahil Gangjee (70-62-65), who shot a personal best of 62 on day two, followed it up with a 65 in round three to move up one spot into the joint lead. Rahil made three birdies and a bogey on the front-nine where his bunker shot on the fourth that set up a tap-in stood out.
Unlike previous rounds, the 45-year-old Gangjee, a winner of three international titles, had a better back-nine at Beldih where he picked up an eagle and three birdies. His eagle putt on the 12th was from 30 feet while he also rolled in two 12-footers for birdies and played a great wedge shot to leave himself a short birdie conversion on the 13th.
The Bengaluru-based Rahil said, “Today was about managing my emotions. I’m the only one who can get in my way. I stayed calm through the round despite the bogey in the middle. The break while travelling from Golmuri to Beldih also helped me calm down as I listened to some music on the way. Importantly, I was in the present and not getting too ahead of myself. The 62 on day two did me a lot of good.”
Angad Cheema (66-66-65), like Gangjee, also returned a 65 on day three to rise one place to tied first. The Chandigarh golfer went bogey-free as he was brilliant with his chipping. The 33-year-old Cheema, currently ninth on the PGTI Order of Merit, landed it within three feet on four occasions to set up birdies.
Angad said, “My hitting was consistent and I kept it in play and made putts where I needed to. The aim is to play well and not look at the result.”
Gaganjeet Bhullar (64-66-67), the overnight leader by two shots, kept himself in the hunt on Saturday by putting together an eagle and five birdies at the expense of two bogeys.
The Chandigarh-based Bhullar said, “It’s going to be interesting in the final round with three of us tied at the top. I made some good par saves on the front-nine. I’ve been playing well in the second half this year and hopefully those good memories will translate into positivity for me on the final day.”
Last year’s winner Chikkarangappa S (67) was tied 13th at 12-under 204.
TATA Steel PGTI Ranking leader Om Prakash Chouhan (65) was placed tied 16th at 11-under 205. Chouhan is now the top favourite to bag the number one spot in the TATA Steel PGTI Ranking as Aman Raj, his nearest rival in the merit list, was placed tied eighth at 14-under 202 after three days in Jamshedpur. Aman needs to win the season-ending event in order to have a shot at the No. 1 spot in the Order of Merit.
The two Jamshedpur-based professionals Karan Taunk (two-under 214) and Kurush Heerjee (eight-over 224) were placed tied 56th and tied 71st respectively.
Round 3 Leaderboard:
197: Angad Cheema (66-66-65); Rahil Gangjee (70-62-65); Gaganjeet Bhullar (64-66-67)
201: Divyanshu Bajaj (66-70-65); Arjun Prasad (66-70-65); Kartik Sharma (66-69-66); Shivendra Singh Sisodia (68-67-66)
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