New Delhi, 21-02-2015

Chawrasia firm favourite heading into final day

Nearest challenger Siddikur two shots behind

India's SSP Chawrasia is staring at his maiden Indian Open title and thrid European Tour win as he heads into the final round of the Indian Open 2015 with a two-shot lead. Chawrasia carded a two-under-69 in round three at the Delhi Golf Club to take his total to 12-under-201. SSP's nearest challenger on the final day will be PGTI member and defending champion Md Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh who ended day three with a 10-under-203 total thanks to his third round effort of one-under-70.

SSP Chawrasia (65-67-69), the overnight leader by one shot, had a brilliant start on day three as he birdied the first two holes from four feet and 12 feet respectively. The 36-year-old, who posted bogey-free rounds on the first two days, kept a firm grip on the lead with pars on the next 10 holes. He cemented his place at the top with another birdie on the 13th after he landed his approach within four feet of the pin.

SSP enjoyed a stroke of luck to stay in the lead when his tee shot on the eighth hole, which was headed into the jungle, bounced off a tree branch onto the fairway. He also saved a crucial par on 16 from thick rough. 

Just as Chawrasia looked all set to go bogey-free for the third straight day, a poor tee shot followed by a missed chip-putt on the 17th resulted in his first bogey of the tournament.

Chawrasia said, “I feel great. I missed a few putts but I’m still happy. I missed my eight-iron on the 17th hole or else, I would have still been bogey-free. My tee shot on the 16th landed in the trees but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. I hit a low shot and I was able to save par.

“I want to think and play positive on the final day. The final round is always special so I will play aggressively. The wind changed today and it was totally different from the last two days. I just kept playing low ball flights.

“I played my own game and didn’t bother too much about the leaderboard. That’s how I play. If anyone is coming close, let them. I just want to focus on my own game. Even if I am disappointed with a shot, I try not to show it and stay calm on the outside.”

Defending champion Md Siddikur Rahman (65-68-70) stayed in touch with the leader as a result of his birdies on the first and 13th. Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour, then double bogeyed the 15th from the trees but holed a close range birdie on 18 to stay in the hunt to win back-to-back Indian Open titles.

Siddikur said, “It was a good day. I had a nice rhythm and picked up a couple of shots until the double bogey. But I managed to recover well and made a great par save on 17 and then managed to birdie the last. Overall, I’m happy with one-under today. The birdie on the closing hole was very crucial. 

“Anything can happen in this game. I’m looking forward to round four and hopefully I can play the way I did on Thursday. 

“I tried not to think too much about what SSP was doing today. I tried to focus on my own game and looked at hitting maximum greens in regulation and making some birdie putts.”
Anirban Lahiri (73-65-70), who was overnight tied seventh, moved up one place to tied sixth as he posted a 70 in round three. Lahiri looked in fine form as he mounted a charge on the front-nine with four birdies against a lone bogey. The highest-ranked Indian in the world then lost momentum with a bogey on the 10th and a double-bogey on the 13th where he lost his ball in the jungle on the 13th. Anirban managed to pull one shot back with a birdie on the 16th.

The Indian trio of Chikkarangappa (68), Jeev Milkha Singh (68) and Jyoti Randhawa (69) were in tied 21st place at one-under-212.

Mukesh Kumar, Chiragh Kumar, Manav Jaini and Angad Cheema occupied tied 32nd place at even-par-213.

Kapil Kumar, Rashid Khan and Shubhankar Sharma were a further shot back in joint 38th position.

Amardip Sinh Malik, Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal were tied 50th at two-over-215 while Om Prakash Chouhan was in tied 64th place at four-over-217.

About PGTI:

Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Srinivasan H R (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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