Oct 6, 2017: Noida’s Amardip Sinh Malik opened up a five-shot lead on day three of the ONGC Masters 2017 to emerge firm favourite for the title. Malik, playing at his home course, the Noida Golf Course, took his tournament tally to an imposing 16-under-200 on Friday thanks to a determined effort of four-under-68 in round three.
Delhi’s Kapil Kumar (70) and Bengaluru’s M Dharma (73) were placed tied second at 11-under-205.
Amardip Sinh Malik (66-66-68), the overnight joint leader, sprung ahead on day three as a result of his solid 68. Malik, who won his only title, three years back at the same venue, fired six birdies and a double bogey on Friday, to raise hopes of a second professional title.
The 32-year-old Amardip pulled ahead early on with birdies on the first and third, chipping-in on the latter. His double-bogey on the seventh was the only error of the day. Malik bounced back quickly with birdies on the next two holes.
With nearest rival M Dharma stumbling on the back-nine, Amardip seized the opportunity by adding two more birdies on the 13th and 14th to build a healthy lead. For the second straight day, Malik birdied the 14th despite landing his drive in the hazard.
“I feel this has been my best round so far this week. I started well but then dropped a double-bogey. However, I kept calm and got back into my rhythm soon to add four more birdies to my card. I’m happy the way I came back after the double-bogey” said Amardip.
“I made some good up and downs from the bunker as well. I have a comfortable lead at the moment so I’m quite confident ahead of the final round. But there’s a lot of golf still to be played, so I can’t relax at any stage.
“I’ll take it one hole at a time and only look to attack where I really need to.”
M Dharma (63-69-73), the joint overnight leader, slipped to tied second position on day three as he couldn’t replicate his effort from the first two rounds. Dharma began well with three birdies on the first six holes but then struggled with his short game picking up just one birdie at the cost of five bogeys from the seventh to the 18th.
Kapil Kumar (68-67-70) moved up one place from his overnight tied third after a round of 70 that included five birdies and three bogeys.
Delhi’s Ashok Kumar and Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow were tied for fourth at nine-under-207.
Noida golfers Dipankar Kaushal (six-under-210) and Rahul Bajaj (five-under-211) were placed tied ninth and tied 12th respectively.
The other two Noida players in the field, Vikrant Chopra (four-under-212) and defending champion Gaurav Pratap Singh (one-over-217) were in tied 15th and tied 31st respectively.