Jamshedpur, Dec 20: Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow established a four-shot lead in round three of the 13th Tata Open, a Rs. 75 lakh event, to emerge front runner for the title.
Chouhan struck a four-under-67 in Jamshedpur on Saturday to take his total to 13-under-201. Gurgaon’s Abhishek Kuhar came up with a three-under-68 in the third round to be placed second at nine-under-205.
On Saturday, the entire field consisting of the 53 players who made the cut, played nine holes each on both courses – Beldih and Golmuri.
While one half of the field teed off from Beldih, the other half began its round from Golmuri. Twenty-seven golfers with the best scores at the end of round two teed off from Golmuri and finished at Beldih. The par for the combined courses was 71. This format will also be followed in the fourth and final round on Sunday.
Om Prakash Chouhan (67-67-67), the overnight leader by one shot, enjoyed an outstanding day with the putter as he sank five birdie putts from a range of 15 to 30 feet on the fourth, eighth, 10th, 15th and 18th.
He also took advantage of the two par-5s at Beldih, the 12th and 16th, by landing it within three feet on both for tap-in birdies.
A three-putt on the seventh and missed chip-putts on the 11th and 14th resulted in his three bogeys of the day. The 28-year-old Chouhan, a winner on the PGTI this year, will now be eyeing his fourth title.
Chouhan, currently placed second in the Rolex Rankings, said, “The putter was hot and I holed quite a few long putts today. I’ve played better at Beldih so far and that reflected in my superior back-nine today.
The few missed putts will always be there, but importantly I converted many more putts than I missed. I’ve been on a roll in the last one month and am therefore confident of delivering a good performance in the final round at Jamshedpur and sealing the title.”
Abhishek Kuhar moved up from overnight tied fourth to second place after his third round effort of three-under-68. The 19-year-old Kuhar made an eagle, four birdies and three bogeys on Saturday.
Bangaloreans Khalin Joshi and C Muniyappa were tied third at eight-under-206.
Rolex Rankings leader Chikkarangappa of Bangalore and Mukesh Kumar of Mhow were a further shot back in tied fifth spot.
Digvijay Singh and Himmat Singh Rai, both from the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurgaon, occupied joint seventh place at six-under-208.
Sri Lankan N Thangaraja made five straight birdies from the second through the sixth during his round of seven-under-64 which also accounted for the best single-round score of the tournament. He closed the day in tied ninth place at five-under-209.
Noida’s Rahul Bajaj produced two eagles in his third round of two-under-69. Bajaj, who fired eagles on the second and 12th, was placed tied 12th at four-under-210.
Jamshedpur’s Karan Taunk was placed tied 23rd at even-par-214 while defending champion M Dharma of Bangalore was in tied 27th place at one-over-215.
Leading Scores after Round 3 were 201: Om Prakash Chouhan, 205: Abhishek Kuhar, 206: Khalin Joshi, C Muniyappa and 207: Mukesh Kumar, Chikkarangappa S.