Pune, 27-06-2013

Shamim Khan shines in round three to emerge leader

 
Shamim Khan of Delhi carded a resolute four-under-68 to emerge leader in round three of the PGTI Players Championship being played at the Oxford Golf & Country Club in Pune. Shamim’s total moved to 10-under-206 after his superb third round effort. Rahil Gangjee of Kolkata returned the day’s best score of five-under-67 to be placed second. Gangjee is now breathing down Shamim’s neck with a nine-under-207 total.

Shamim Khan (71-67-68), who was overnight tied third and one stroke off the lead, earned successive birdies on the fifth and sixth holes to make a move up the leaderboard. The 35-year-old reigning Rolex Rankings champion sank a 40-feet birdie putt on the fifth. A poor chip resulted in a bogey for Shamim on the seventh but he picked up a birdie on the ninth to make the turn at two-under.

Shamim’s back-nine featured a chip-in for birdie on the 13th, two birdie conversions from a range of 12 to 15 feet on the 14th and 17th as well as a birdie on the closing 18th. The professional from the Delhi Golf Club also dropped bogeys on the 11th and 15th as a result of a couple of three-putts. He thus ended up with seven birdies and three bogeys.

“I had a steady first round but my game picked up from round two onwards. I’ve been putting much better and have also hit my irons closer over the last two days as compared to round one. I rate the sixth as a very tough hole since one can’t sight the fairway from the tee and the green is also very tight. I was therefore delighted to make a birdie on the sixth today. I’ve not been finishing my rounds well in the last few events. But I feel I’ve managed to improve that aspect of my game this week,” said Shamim, a winner of nine professional titles.

Rahil Gangjee (72-68-67), climbed from overnight tied eighth to second place after shooting the day’s best score of 67. Gangjee’s eventful round included seven birdies against two bogeys. Rahil, a former winner on the Asian Tour, rolled in birdie putts from 40 and 20 feet on the seventh and 17th respectively. The 34-year-old landed his approach shots within five feet to set up birdies on the first and 18th and also produced two excellent chip-putts for birdies on the fourth and 11th. His two bogeys on the sixth and eighth were a result of three-putts on both occasions.

Gangjee said, “I’ve gotten to know this course more with each passing round and have accordingly adjusted my game. I now have a better understanding of the green speed and the distance the ball carries in the air. This in turn has helped me play better. My putting stroke was also a lot smoother than the previous two rounds.”

Kolkata’s Shankar Das (67-70-71), the overnight joint leader, slipped to third place after returning a 71 on Thursday. His total stands at eight-under-208. 

Anirban Lahiri (70-68-71) of Bengaluru is in fourth place at seven-under-209. Sri Lankan Mithun Perera (70-70-70) is a further stroke back in fifth position.

Delhi’s Rashid Khan, the overnight joint leader, slipped to tied sixth at five-under-211 after firing a 74 in round three. He shares sixth place along with fellow Delhi golfers Chiragh Kumar, Himmat Singh Rai and Vinod Kumar.

Moinuddin Malak (77-69-72), with a total score of two-over-218, is currently the highest-placed Pune golfer in tied 32nd.



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