18 November 2022: Greater Noida’s Arjun Sharma shot a steady two-under 70 to move up one spot and take the third round lead at the IndianOil SERVO Masters 2022 being played at the Digboi Golf Links.
Pune-based Udayan Mane carded the day’s best score of 66 to climb nine places to second position at 11-under 205 at the Rs. 75 lakh event.
Delhi’s Kshitij Naveed Kaul posted a 69 to gain two spots and end day three in third place at 10-under 206.
Besides Udayan and Kshitij there are several other contenders giving chase to the leader on a packed leaderboard as five players including halfway leader Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (74), Pawan Kumar (67), Mithun Perera (68), M Dharma (68) and Sunhit Bishnoi (69) are bunched in tied fourth just three shots behind the lead at nine-under 207.
Arjun Sharma (66-68-70), who registered a career-best runner-up finish on the PGTI in Coimbatore in August this year, has made a gradual progression during the week rising from fourth place in round one to second position in round two and then into the lead in round three thanks to his consistent display.
The 29-year-old Arjun, currently ranked 28th on the PGTI Order of Merit, had a quiet start as he made pars on the first six holes where he didn’t hit it close to the flag. Sharma picked up his first birdie on the seventh but soon lost ground with bogeys on the eighth and ninth where he missed a fairway and a chip-putt respectively.
Arjun regained control on the back-nine after putting together consecutive birdies on the 14th, 15th and 16th where he hit it within three feet on two occasions. He followed that up with good par saves from tough spots on the 17th and 18th.
Arjun said, “The front-nine troubled me for the third day in succession. I’m one-over for the front-nine so far this week and 13-under for the back-nine. I think the back-nine is actually the tougher half of the course. So I feel that I need to play the front-nine better in round four, especially the seventh, eighth and ninth holes.
“I’ve been playing well in the second half of the season starting from Coimbatore, however I just haven’t been consistent enough. But I know the game is there and I just need to keep at it and keep it going.”
Udayan Mane (70-69-66) began the day with a bogey on the first but came up with six birdies thereafter till the 14th including three 20 to 25 feet conversions to roar into contention. The Olympian’s second bogey of the day on the 15th was once again negated by birdies on the 16th and 17th.
Mane said, “Importantly, I kept the momentum going today as I followed up my two bogeys with birdies immediately after.”
Kshitij Naveed Kaul (65-72-69) mixed an eagle and four birdies with three bogeys during his third round that featured some quality chip-putts. Kaul’s eagle on the par-5 seventh came after his approach shot from 200 yards landed just one foot from the flag.
Among the prominent names, Khalin Joshi was tied 12th at seven-under 209 while Manu Gandas was placed tied 27th at four-under 212.
Dulal Kalowar, the only local professional to make the cut, occupied 57th place at three-over 219.